Inspired learning

(L-R): Mt Gambier High School students Blair Humphries and Matt McInerney with Ben Heathcote, SA's Secondary School Teacher of the Year.

(L-R): Mt Gambier High School students Blair Humphries and Matt McInerney with Ben Heathcote, SA's Secondary School Teacher of the Year.

For Ben Heathcote, the decision to become a teacher was easy.

“First and foremost, I’ve always enjoyed working with young people and helping create opportunities for youth,” the 34-year-old Flinders University Education alumnus says.

“And I’ve always had a love of learning – even though it’s sounds really cliché I love learning new things, reading new books and developing new ideas,” he says.

“Becoming a teacher was an obvious combination of my two passions; it’s enabled me to work with young people around learning.”

This very passion hasn’t gone unnoticed by the SA Education Department, nor his students and colleagues at Mt Gambier High School, with Mr Heathcote being named Secondary School Teacher of the Year at this year’s SA Excellence in Public Education Awards.

The awards were also won by Flinders PhD candidate Swati Phatak, who was named Primary School Teacher of the Year (see separate story), and Sam Moyle, who won Early Career Teacher or the Year.

The awards attracted more than 1900 nominations, with each winner receiving $10,000 in funding for their professional development.

Mr Heathcote began his career as a teacher at Kimba Area School before moving to Mt Gambier High in 2006, where he taught English from Years 8-12 until 2010.

In 2007 he was offered a scholarship by the Education Department for a Graduate Certificate in Neuroscience (Learning) at Flinders – a course he found “enlightening”.

InDaily in your inbox. The best local news every workday at lunch time.
By signing up, you agree to our User Agreement andPrivacy Policy & Cookie Statement. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

“The aim of the course was to help neuroscientists understand how learning happens in schools and to help teachers learn about developments in neuroscience that can be useful in education.

“By understanding the brain, how it works and how we learn, teachers can be more effective educators.”

From 2011 to 2013 Mr Heathcote worked at Mt Gambier’s Independent Learning Centre, helping students that had experienced barriers to learning reengage with education, while at the same time completing his Master of Education at Flinders.

Back at Mt Gambier High for the past year, Mr Heathcote is now the English and Literacy Across the Curriculum Coordinator and also teaches the SACE Research Project for Year 12s.

So what sets him apart from other teachers?

“My approach is based on making students feel supported, engaged and motivated.

“I strongly believe every student is capable of achieving great learning and I think I bring a genuine sense of fun, passion and enjoyment to the classroom because I genuinely enjoy teaching.

“I’ve been really fortunate to have great teachers and mentors in my own life, including Flinders University, and I love giving that same support to my students.”

Local News Matters
Copyright © 2024 InDaily.
All rights reserved.