Leanna Gurney, Year 7 and 8 Science teacher at Swan Christian College, is one of only 30 mentees selected from a National field of applicants to be part of a new Commonwealth Government funded National Mentoring for Science and Maths Teachers programme.
Designed to help teachers deepen their knowledge and understanding of how to get key ideas and difficult concepts in Science and Maths across to students in engaging and effective ways, the University of Canberra, in collaboration with Questacon, The Australian National University, The Australian Science Teachers Association and the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers, is the lead partner in the design and delivery of this innovative programme.
“The preparation of beginning Maths and Science teachers is critical to ensure that the next generation is best equipped for the increasingly scientific, technological and mathematical demands of their day to day life, as well as their workplaces,” says Michael Gaffney, University of Canberra professor of education and project director.
The chosen teachers gathered in Canberra in October, for a fully funded weeklong intensive programme featuring numerous hands-on inquiry-based workshops. It is followed up by a period of innovative online mentoring support and workshops over the next 15 months.
“I have always been fascinated by Human Biology,” says Leanna who majored in Genetics during her degree in Biomedical Science. “God went into so much detail when he created us. We are still always discovering more about our bodies and it shows us how big He is and how little we are.”
Leanna first joined Swan Christian College as an Absentee Officer in 2012. Meeting the teachers and staff and getting to know the students inspired her to complete a Diploma of Education in 2014. “I remember spending my honey moon in Vietnam applying for the job as Science teacher at Swan,” Leanna recalls with a smile.
Head of Learning, Aedan Lennon, recommend that Leanna apply for the mentorship and she was fortunate enough to be partnered with Dr Siew Yap from Kingsway Christian College as her mentor.
“I feel so privileged to be in a programme with such highly esteemed educational leaders,” says Leanna. “Although it is really only just underway, I already feel more inspired, confident and equipped to teach my students in more engaging ways”.