Tina Barron, from St John the Baptist Catholic Primary School in Gladstone, Central Queensland is the ORIGO Education Teacher of the Month for April 2021. The award, which recognizes exceptional teachers doing exceptional work in the classroom, has been awarded to Tina after she was nominated for her passion in the classroom and exceptional ability to develop connections with her students and engage them through the use of tools and resources in the classroom.
With over 20 years of experience under her belt and a wealth of experience in different grades, Tina is currently teaching year 1 students and says she has a passion to inspire learning in children.
“I’m really liking being at the grassroots level,” said Tina. “Developing literacy and numeracy skills is something I get immense joy out of and the eagerness that the kids bring to the classroom and the desire to learn is wonderfully refreshing.
“Maths is one of my favourite subjects to teach. If we can give it relevance to a child’s everyday life and show how it’s an important part of their life, then I think we’re doing a good job. It’s for this reason that I take a hands-on, real-world approach to teaching maths and I make time for incidental learning, investigation time and provide concrete materials for them to explore.
“For example, we might start with scales and blocks on the floor and look at how we can partition the number 6 into 2+4 or 3+3, et cetera but see it still equals 6! Opportunities to provide young students with tools to explore, converse, and to problem solve is what makes the subject so enjoyable for me.”
With the help of tools like ORIGO Education’s Animated Big Books (a learning tool for grades K–2 that generates language and discourse in mathematics), Tina keeps her students engaged.
“Our Assistant Principal purchased the ORIGO Education Big Books and Animated Big Books, and I’ve been using the Animated Big Books in my second stage of learning which is my reinforcement and practice stage,” Tina said.
“I find the Animated Big Books have been really beneficial without going into sheet work for independent practice. In the book, Mice, Mice Everywhere, which covers basic addition, students utilised whiteboards to come up with number sentences stemming from conversations about the book’s content. I find the Animated Big Books to be a powerful teaching tool – with minimal prep, I had a relevant and enjoyable lesson with great learning engagement. Another book, Stella’s Store, which covers counting patterns, is also a big hit in the classroom – every child was engaged during that particular lesson, predicting what the next number would be.”
After speaking with Tina, it’s obvious that she is is one of those teachers every parent wants for their child. Along with her excellent use of supplemental tools and resources, she also genuinely loves what she does, saying the most rewarding thing about teaching is simply watching students develop.
“Watching my students develop over the schooling year, especially in lower school when there is huge developmental growth over the months, is something I find really rewarding. When you see a child have a light bulb moment, it makes it all worth it.”
Tina’s tip to other teachers is to develop a relationship early with your kids.
“Developing the trust is important, and when you learn about what your students are interested in, you learn about what’s relevant to them in their world and you can develop and direct lessons to engage them more.
“Also remember that it’s okay for them to sleep on it and come back to it when they’re ready,” Tina added. “Children learn at different paces and you just need to take one day at a time.”
ORIGO Education congratulates Tina on being the well–deserving recipient of the ORIGO Education Teacher of the Month award.
Starting in January 2021, ORIGO Education will recognize a teacher every month in our newsletter and website. The teacher selected will be recognized from the Stepping Stones Pre-K through Grade 6 family of educators. We are looking for educators to share a story, activity or tip that has made an impact in their classroom. Click here to learn more.