There are some teachers who seem to be born to the role, such is their passion, energy and enthusiasm for the profession and commitment to the education needs and emotional wellbeing of their students.
Within moments of meeting Chantel Mirzai, you can see that she is clearly one of them.
Becoming a teacher was always the plan from a young age. “It was a dream of mine that never wavered through school,” she says.
The Deputy Principal, Instructional Leader at Auburn North Public School in Sydney exudes passion and enthusiasm, which has contributed to her being recognised with a 2019 Commonwealth Bank teaching Award for her efforts to inspire a culture of academic success and improved student wellbeing at her school.
After leading Year 3 to the school’s best ever NAPLAN results in 2013, Mirzai was selected by principal Mark Harris in 2015 to work with fellow staff and lead a school-wide improvement program.
This involved improving collaboration between teachers themselves, and the use of video to provide feedback on their teaching methods and practices. Literacy and numeracy teaching was streamlined and teachers were shown how to best use performance data and monitor student progress.
Parents were also a key part of the plan, and a K-6 ‘Parents as Partners in Learning Program’ now sees them participate in small workgroups that mirror the work their children are doing. More than 150 parents regularly come along to daily assemblies.
The results have been outstanding. The school’s NAPLAN results have exceeded those of almost all comparable schools in the country, while its ‘value add’ is in the top 5 per cent for the state.
Chantel took some time out of her busy schedule to talk to Education Review about the changes she helped bring about at the school and what drives her to provide the best possible educational outcomes for her students.
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