Fish Creek’s outstanding teacher

MANY years ago when Kerri Smith was in Grade Six at Wonthaggi North Primary School and left in charge of the Prep class, she instantly knew she would become a teacher.
“We were never allowed to write on the blackboard, but for that day because I was the teacher I was so excited to be allowed to,” Mrs Smith said.
“I don’t remember what I wrote, but I wrote all over it. I knew then that I wanted to be a teacher.”
Mrs Smith has been a teacher for 36 years, 12 of which she has spent at Fish Creek and this year, she received the Victorian Education Excellence outstanding primary teacher award in recognition of her lifelong work in building strong relationships with her students.
“The thing I appreciate most is that the other teachers at the school felt I deserved it. In many ways our whole staff team should have been up there. They’re just as deserving,” she said.
“Ultimately, it’s all about the students. All the policies and documentation stand for nothing if you don’t have good relationships with your students.”
For most of the 12 years at Fish Creek, Mrs Smith has taught the Prep classes who she said laugh at her jokes whether she is funny or not, and like her singing even though she knows she isn’t a good singer.
Mrs Smith takes her humour seriously, describing how she tricked her class into believing the class pet tortoise could juggle by putting the tortoise in the middle of a class circle surrounded by miniature juggling balls.
When the tortoise didn’t juggle every time she did, she explained he wasn’t in the mood – a con Mrs Smith said lasted for six months before the class figured it out.
“A lot humour when you teach is important. I stir the kids up all the time. I also think now it’s amazing what professional learning we can access,” Mrs Smith said.
“I think part of the dedication means being dedicated to learning your whole life. There are some things I learnt at teacher’s college that I have no idea why it’s important.
“If you can’t explain why it’s important to know something to a child, the child won’t want to learn it.”

Outstanding class: Fish Creek Primary School students Andy and Shelby with their award winning teacher Kerri Smith who was recently recognised for her work at the Victorian Education Excellence awards.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=26424

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