It’s been a busy week for Goodna State School teacher Jay Page.
Not only has she been preparing her students for digital learning in response to COVID-19, she’s also won an award as one of Australia’s best teachers.
Ms Page said she was honoured to be one of 12 teachers across the country to win the Commonwealth Bank Teaching Award for exceptional teaching.
“The other teachers who won are all amazing, so I feel quite surprised to be a part of the group,” Ms Page said.
As a specialty pedagogical coach and KindyLinQ teacher, Ms Page works closely with teachers across the school on innovative ways of teaching and is a specialist in digital learning – a skill that will be hugely important in the coming months.
“We’re really lucky that the families at our school are so digitally engaged,” Ms Page said.
“I conducted a survey at the start of year with students across our school about digital learning, well before we could have known what was coming with the coronavirus. I found that about three per cent of students don’t have connectivity at home, so my focus now is on finding a way to get devices into those homes that don’t have them.”
The Commonwealth Bank Teaching award prize includes $25,000 for each winner to roll out an education project at their school. Ms Page said she’ll be using the prize money to improve how the school can educate children remotely through this period.
“Some of the kids are already emailing to say they miss seeing us in person, but our students are very tech savvy and we’re making sure we stay connected to them through video lessons and email,” Ms Page said.
“I try not to think of it as a challenge, and more of an opportunity to differentiate learning moving forward and to upskill teachers, students and parents in how much we can do with remote teaching.
“It’s also a great opportunity to connect with the kids who are still at school, being the children of essential workers.”
Ms Page said she loves teaching and knows every single child at Goodna State School.
“I’ve been working at Goodna State School for eight years now, and my first Prep class graduated in Year 6 last year, so I’ve been lucky enough to see them grow up in the time I’ve been here,” Ms Page said.
“Before working in schools I was working in childcare services and worked in every possible position there, so I’ve been working in education for 22 years now.”
Ms Page praised the school and her fellow teachers for taking such a proactive stance on COVID-19 and setting up education campaigns for their young students.
“Our science teacher set up these hand washing stations straight away and we’ve had these great big boards up all around the school, reminding kids to cough into their elbow and to wash their hands,” Ms Page said.
“Our school has been really proactive, and we’ve used it as a learning opportunity.”
All schools in Queensland are pupil-free this week ahead of the Easter holidays, but will remain open for the children of essential workers.