Pas­sion for chang­ing lives earns top award

Pilbara News - - News - Shan­non Beattie

Kar­ratha teacher Sarah Penn has been re­warded for ex­cel­lence over her 14 years of teach­ing, win­ning the Curtin Univer­sity teach­ing ex­cel­lence award at the Western Aus­tralian Re­gional Achieve­ment and Com­mu­nity Awards.

Ms Penn moved to Kar­ratha in 2009.

She had pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence teach­ing pri­mary school in Vic­to­ria, so for the first two years she worked in early child­hood and pri­mary schools in town be­fore ac­cept­ing a job at North West Re­gional TAFE as an early child­hood and ed­u­ca­tion sup­port lec­turer.

“My pas­sion is teach­ing peo­ple from low so­cio-eco­nomic ar­eas — they don’t of­ten get the op­por­tu­nity to have peo­ple say to them ‘you’re great and you can do this’ — see­ing that sparkle in some­one’s eyes who has never heard that be­fore is re­ally re­ward­ing,” she said.

Hav­ing taught chil­dren and adults, Ms Penn be­lieves there is never a rea­son to stop learn­ing.

“Early child­hood and pri­mary school is the time to plant that seed for learn­ing for life,” she said. “If you’re will­ing to learn and be­lieve you can, then your life out­come will be a lot bet­ter, whereas to see an adult grow from when they first timidly walk into the of­fice to en­rol, to by the end be­ing ex­pe­ri­enced, pro­fes­sional, con­fi­dent in them­selves and with a qual­i­fi­ca­tion un­der their belt is in­cred­i­ble.”

Ms Penn’s love of learn­ing hasn’t faded and she is com­plet­ing a doc­tor­ate in ed­u­ca­tion, with her the­sis on pri­mary school ed­u­ca­tion in low so­cio-eco­nomic ar­eas due to be sub­mit­ted early next year.

“In the so­ci­ety we live in there are is­sues that are in­creas­ing ex­po­nen­tially, but they can be ad­dressed by peo­ple be­liev­ing in them­selves, be­liev­ing they can learn and be­liev­ing that there is more to life,” she said.

Pic­ture: Shan­non Beattie

Sarah Penn, win­ner of the 2018 Re­gional Achieve­ment and Com­mu­nity Awards Curtin Univer­sity teach­ing ex­cel­lence award.

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