After just one-and-a-half years’ teaching, Carole Berry is already recognised as a state leader in her field.
The popularity of Spanish has soared at Clayfield College under Miss Berry, who has been selected as part of the Expert Writing Team in the current redevelopment of Queensland’s senior language syllabuses.
This year, more than half of Clayfield College’s Year 7 students, who can only choose one of three languages, have chosen to study Spanish.
Miss Berry’s inspirational lessons, her passion for the subject, her early leadership in the area and her commitment to seeing students achieve are among the reasons she is a finalist in this year’s Queensland College of Teachers (QCT) Excellence in Beginning to Teach Award.
Miss Berry uses YouTube as “as a really good resource to get authentic exposure to culture”.
Her students have taken part in their own La Tomatina – throwing water bombs instead of tomatoes, as is done in Spain – and have cultural experiences which include piñatas and Spanish food. They also sing in Spanish, which is the official language of 22 countries.
“They (cultural experiences) can be a lot of fun but what they actually mean to the people who established these traditions and cultural references are more important for them (the students) to understand,” Miss Berry says.
“I started learning Spanish when I was in primary school myself and continued with it the whole way through high school and always loved it; I just got to the end of Year 12 and didn’t want to leave it at the school gate.”
Miss Berry said she had always wanted to teach.
“I have always enjoyed the opportunity to support others to achieve things they are working towards. I have always valued being someone that people can ask for help when they need it, whether it was at home or when I was a student myself,” she said.
“I encourage all students to develop a love for learning … that is so valuable for them to develop as young people to grow with for the rest of their lives.”
Independent Schools Queensland is using Miss Berry’s work as exemplars for teaching of the Australian Curriculum.
QCT Director John Ryan thanked Miss Berry for her enthusiasm, her outstanding teaching skills and her early leadership in the subject area.
Winners of the QCT Excellence in Teaching Awards will be announced on 27 October, on the night before World Teachers’ Day is celebrated in Australia.