Master of Teaching (Primary) student Harleigh Stanton was recently awarded Educators SA’s Outstanding Graduate of the Year, Flinders University award for her outstanding academic record and impressive work throughout her internship at Flagstaff Hill Primary School. The award came as a surprise to Harleigh; however, she is proud of her achievements.
“I was certainly shocked when I found out, my face went so red”, says Harleigh. “I was really excited at first and it felt like an amazing celebration of my final placement and final few courses at uni. I feel so incredibly honoured to be receiving this award and I am so thankful to everyone who has supported me to get where I am. It certainly takes a village to raise a teacher and I am incredibly lucky to have the support crew that I do.”
Harleigh’s excitement for receiving her award is heighted by her long-time dream of becoming a teacher since childhood.
“I have wanted to be a teacher ever since I can remember”, says Harleigh. “I used to make my siblings play schools with me when we were very little.
Harleigh has spent most of this year interning in a Year 3 classroom, an experience which has provided her with valuable knowledge and skills. In term 1, she spent two days a week in class with her mentor teachers to get to know them and their teaching strategies. She then completed a full teaching block in term 2 where she experienced many of the practical elements of teaching.
“Doing a longer placement was so valuable because I got to see what a real term looks like from start to finish including planning, reporting, swimming week, NAPLAN, relief teachers and reporting”, says Harleigh.
Harleigh utilised the learnings of her undergraduate studies in psychology when implementing her special project.
“Interns are able to establish any project of their choosing so with the needs of students within the school as well as my background, strengths and passions”, says Harleigh. “I decided to run a wellbeing project with small groups of students and it has been really rewarding”.
When asked what excited Harleigh about a career in teaching, she emphasises variety of diverse opportunities within the industry.
“Teaching is a huge responsibility because we must wear so many different hats on a daily basis”, says Harleigh. “You are a teacher, learner, counsellor, first aid officer, librarian, admin officer, lesson creator, assessor, mentor, and so much more… and that’s what I love about teaching. No one day is the same and it is so exciting to create opportunities for students to learn in a really fun way and create opportunities for them to grow their knowledge and grow personally as well.”