Sydney Catholic Schools celebrate professional standards

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More than 20 Sydney Catholic Schools teachers were recognised for reaching proficiency at a ceremony held at the organisation’s head office in Leichhardt on June 14.

The proficient teacher accreditation is one of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers introduced by the Board of Studies, Teaching and Professional Standards (BOSTES).

It is designed to help new teachers to strengthen their classroom knowledge and skills, and support teachers returning to the workforce after five or more years away. Teachers generally have between three and six years to reach proficiency, depending on their employment status. They must submit annotated lesson plans and other evidence of their work and take professional development courses to gain accreditation.

Executive Director of Sydney Catholic Schools Dr Dan White congratulated the teachers present and gifted each with a glass plaque recognising their accreditation and an icon of Jesus the teacher.

“The recognition tonight is a testimony to your professionalism,” he told teachers present at the ceremony. “This is a very significant achievement. The accreditation process is a very demanding and worthwhile experience, but there is a sense of deep professional satisfaction to see you have been recognised by your peers in the profession.”

The kids bring different situations to the classroom every day, so you’re dealing with new scenarios.

– Albert Magnowski

Casimir Catholic College Marrickville teachers Vanessa Penitani and Albert Magnowski were among those who received awards at the presentation.

Vanessa teaches PDHPE and Religious Education, and submitted lesson plans for whole units of work and copies of parent-teacher report night interviews among evidence of her teaching prowess.

“It’s a lot of work to do, but when it is done and they send you that certificate for proficiency there’s a sense of relief,” she said. “For me the joy in teaching is also the difference between being in the theory classroom teaching them RE or PE theory, and then having that outside relationship with them when we do a practical lesson and play soccer or touch football. I get to see them in so many different environments. Seeing them change and grow from Year 7 to 12 is another amazing thing.

“I’m Catholic myself so it is a very big part of why I chose to be in a Catholic school rather than the state system – to be that face of Jesus and to show students that being young you can still go to church, that it’s still cool.”

The accreditation process is a very demanding and worthwhile experience.

– Dr Dan White

Albert, a Science teacher, had his proficiency recognised in NSW after three years of teaching in Alice Springs.

“It’s pretty exciting,” he said. “It’s good to have Sydney Catholic Schools recognise its teachers and is a bit more reward for all of the hard work and effort.

“I love the fact that every day it’s a completely new environment at school. The kids bring different situations to the classroom every day, so you’re dealing with new scenarios. It makes it exciting and I guess different to other day-to-day jobs. I really enjoy that aspect of teaching.”

Clancy Catholic College Principal Iris Nastasi attended the ceremony with six of seven of her staff who had reached proficiency. Among them was Lauren Nicholls, who Ms Nastasi taught as a Year 10 English student at the then All Saints Catholic Girls College Liverpool. Lauren now teaches English to Clancy students in Years 7 to 10.

“To get the examples and advice from those who had just gone through accreditation on the best way to get it done was really helpful,” she said. “I showed teaching programs, lesson plans, lesson observations – not just of lessons I’d observed, but lessons others had observed me teaching. That was really valuable.

“It’s really important when you can change a child’s mind on something. I think to be able to change their mindset on how they learn is one of the main reasons I became a teacher. I also love the dynamic nature of it. It’s always changing, always exciting and never boring.”

Two more awards nights will be held in July to honour the more than 170 teachers in Sydney Catholic Schools who became accredited as proficient in 2015/2016.

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