Inspiring Whitsunday teacher honoured
AFTER finding sanctuary at school as a child, teacher Grace Watson now devotes her working life to providing the same for her students.
Miss Watson, originally from Cairns, landed her first permanent teaching position at St Catherine's Catholic College in 2017.
From there, her natural teaching and nurturing abilities soared, as too did her students' skills, which Miss Watson said was a driving force behind her commitment to her work.
"What I find most rewarding is seeing the students go from someone who isn't confident in themselves to seeing them realise they do have the power to be who and what they want to be," she said.
"I'm really big on having the students set their own goals - it's super important that it's them who makes the commitment to improving their own learning and I'm here simply to help them do their very best.
"We celebrate everyone's achievements and growth."
Miss Watson's dedication to her students' learning has resulted in her nomination for the Queensland College of Teachers' TeachX award for Excellence in Beginning to Teach.
The award recognises inspirational teachers with up to four years of experience.
Miss Watson teaches maths and science to Years 7-12 students, which she rates as the best subjects to study, and also has a passion for supporting students during their transition from primary school to high school, noting it can be a pivotal moment in a student's education.
After noticing the potential in her students, Miss Watson in partnership with Antipodeans Abroad, launched the school's first overseas community service project in Borneo.
Miss Watson and nine of her students from Years 8-12 spent 10 days travelling to a remote village near the Bengoh dam, where the students helped resident build a community church.
"This trip was about a year in the making and one of the most rewarding parts of it was seeing the kids who thought they wouldn't be able to do it, they ended up just flourishing," Miss Watson said.
"It was hard work, and this was a project that has been going on for five years, so it was good for the students to see how much work goes into to making change such a place.
"It was very satisfying for us to see the work we'd done, and it was also very eye-opening for the students to see how the community was happy, even with their limited means."
Each student had to fund the trip themselves, and many got casual jobs to pay for the experience.
Miss Watson said she loved living in the Whitsundays and looked forward to inspiring more St Catherine's students well into the future.
"There is no better place to be - we live in such a beautiful spot of the world," she said.
"The school is great and the kids are fantastic.
"There isn't a problem with behaviour at all which is great because that means I can get in the classroom and teach and the students are really opened to learning."