Year 5 is an intake year at Strathcona, a crucial year to extend and enrich learning as girls prepare for their transition into our Senior School. Co-curricular activities such as swimming, music, STEM, science extension, outdoor education and sport enhance the rich curriculum on offer. Two passionate and dedicated teachers cater to our students’ individual learning and wellbeing. Discover more about our wonderful Year 5 teachers Annie Shannon and Eliza Nolan in the article below.
What do you enjoy most about teaching?
Annie: The moment when a student has the ‘aha’ experience, when they understand a new concept or have mastered a new skill. This is particularly so when the student has had to really persevere to achieve. It is rewarding to share in their journey of learning and to support them through the process. I enjoy celebrating these ‘aha’ moments with my students. I also enjoy the many entertaining and funny moments that occur when working with young children.
Eliza: I enjoy assisting children to persevere and attempt activities in various manners to achieve their personal success. This can be displayed across all aspects of the curriculum which is rewarding to myself as a teacher but also rewarding to the students. I enjoy supporting students within their own personal, unique learning journey, whilst providing and encouraging a fun environment to achieve success. Student wellbeing is a passion of mine where I believe this is of high priority within a classroom setting and in order for students to feel comfortable in their learning environments to be able to effectively learn.
What inspired you to become a teacher?
Annie: I was always a sports coach as a teenager and enjoyed helping and encouraging others to learn and develop their skills. This passion transferred to the classroom practise when I was doing teaching rounds, even though my original aim was to be a sports teacher. My passion for wanting children to be excited about learning, trying new things and being the best they can be was further expanded at this time.
Eliza: I have an Undergraduate University Degree in Psychology and I was extremely interested in the manner in which children learn and develop at various stages which are both relatable and appropriate to them. Through my studies of Psychology at University, I was inspired to become a teacher in order to support students to aim to reach their full academic potential, as well as additional aspects of learning, both inside and outside of the classroom.
What’s unique about teaching Year 5 at Strathcona?
Annie and Eliza: Year 5 really is a special year at Strathcona. As it is an intake year, with half the girls being new to Strathcona, it is a very social year where the girls are encouraged to develop their social skills and to widen and cultivate their friendships. The nurturing environment that Strathcona provides is both special and unique in the way in which the students are treated and encouraged to learn.
As teachers we have the opportunity to run programs that facilitate this transition and support the girls in this process. Year 5 is the year where the girls have numerous new opportunities available to them such as beginning Interschool Sport, being part of a musical band, going over to the Senior School for lunch break and starting Science lessons in the Senior School Labs. Each child is valued and respected and an individualised approach is applied to all students.
Do you have a highlight/memorable moment from your time at Strathcona?
Annie and Eliza: Year 5 Camp to Phillip Island was both a memorable and enjoyable experience for ourselves and the Strathcona girls. The girls were faced with certain challenges and were extremely brave whilst gaining confidence through various activities which allowed them to reach limits outside of their comfort zones. This was inspiring to me as the girls took positive risks, launched outside of their comfort zones, problem solved appropriately when necessary and above all, encouraged each other to have fun!
What do you enjoy doing outside the classroom?
Annie: I love sport of all kinds. I enjoy keeping fit by way of setting goals and working towards them. I also love travelling, seeing new things and immersing myself in different cultures.
Eliza: I enjoy playing netball and tennis weekly. I have grown up playing team sports and have continued to do so into my adulthood. It is a great way to keep in touch with my friends and catch up whilst productively exercising!
I also enjoy taking my dog, Duke, for walks – he loves the beach and the local dog park!
Most weekends you’ll find me supporting Richmond at the MCG – Go Tiges!
What advice would you give students?
Annie: Make the most of all opportunities that come your way and always try new things. You never know what may become your passion in life.
Eliza: Strathcona has the most amazing resources and experiences available to their students. I would encourage all of the girls to try new activities and to ‘have a go’ at something they haven’t been exposed to before. I believe that students’ time at school is full of wonderful memories and I would encourage all the girls to try their best, take appropriate risks, embrace friendships, never give up and remember to have some fun!