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Every year in classrooms around Queensland, the extraordinary dedication of teachers helps to improve the lives of thousands of students and, in turn, their local communities. From breaking the illiteracy cycle to tackling long-term unemployment, their efforts have been recognised as part of QSuper’s 2019 Thank You Project.
When you ask Newmarket State School teacher Constance Hamer (above) and TAFE Queensland Gold Coast region teacher Gabrielle Marotte to describe their proudest moments as teachers, both struggle to hold back the tears.
The two were among the seven winners of the QSuper Thank You Project competition, held as part of World Teacher’s Day celebrations.
Constance (Connie) has been with Education Queensland for 34 years – as a teacher and in administrative, advisory and curriculum roles – and specialises in early childhood education.
Despite her many memorable experiences throughout her career, it was a moment with a Year 5 student at a former school that continues to inspire her in her teaching role today.
Connie remembers that books were going home with the girl and not coming back, and at parent-teacher interviews she would encourage the student’s parents to read.
“End of the year, Year 5 class, the little girl came up to me with a gift that she had obviously wrapped herself, and it was a slightly used bar of soap,” Connie said.
“And she said ‘Mrs Hamer, this is for you. Because of you, we now have books in our home’. And she said ‘you wouldn’t believe it, even Dad is reading’.”
“I think I was shocked initially. I think that sometimes teachers don’t realise how important they are,” she said.
“When I left school I enrolled in teaching because I really do believe it is the most important job without a doubt.
“If we want a better world we need better people, and I think that schools and early childhood centres are the starting point,” Connie said.
It was just last year when Gabrielle (below, centre), who has been teaching beauty therapy for seven years, received the ultimate reward for following her dream of becoming a teacher.
“My student had immigrated to Australia 10 years ago. She was actually a qualified teacher in her country but unfortunately she couldn’t practice as a teacher in Australia,” Gabrielle recalled.
“She had been unsuccessful gaining employment in other industries and she decided to follow her passion into the beauty industry,” she said.
Due to the length of time that her student had been unemployed, Gabrielle wanted to ensure she had the confidence to be successful in job hunting.
“At the end of her course she gained employment. I saw her recently and she said she’s just so happy in her life,” Gabrielle said.
“As a teacher, that made me feel like I had not only helped somebody with their life, I’d helped them reach their goals, and there was financial stability for her family. And it’s probably my proudest moment because I could see I’d made a difference in someone’s life.”
Each winning entrant in the Thank You Project competition received a $1,500 prize pack for their school and a $100 voucher for themselves.
The competition encompassed teachers and educators from all education institutions within the state, both public and private.1
QSuper has been proudly helping Queensland teachers achieve their retirement goals for more than 100 years. The Thank You Project is an opportunity for us to acknowledge the important work that teachers and behind-the-scenes staff do to improve education and outcomes within our communities.
1. View full Terms and Conditions for the competition.
Seven teachers from across Queensland have been named winners in QSuper’s Thank You Project as part of World Teachers’ Day.
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