Retrospective on awardee, Simon Rowlands

Ahead of this year’s Teaching in the Territory Excellence Awards, the winner of the 2017 Early Childhood and Primary Teacher of the Year Award, Simon Rowlands, reflects on the honour and his goals.

Formerly a full-time teacher at Bradshaw Primary School, Mr Rowlands is now assistant principal at the Alice Springs-based school, a role he describes as “challenging” because the classroom is where “I feel most inspired and passionate”.

“Now my intention is to have an impact beyond the classroom, and I am very fortunate to work with incredible staff, whose talents and passion are helping me work towards achieving that objective,” he said.

“Winning the award has given me greater confidence to believe in myself as an educator, and it has helped me make connections with people outside my own school. Some were interested in me because of the award.

“I think people are interested in what I have to say, which is possibly due to winning the title. It is such a strange thought that I was considered the most outstanding primary school teacher in the entire Northern Territory. How can that be?

“Now, one of my exciting duties is leading a Collaborative Learning Team to help teachers identify the point of need of each student in their class, and start closing the (education) gaps. Our ambition is to ensure each student achieves at least 12 months growth for every year of schooling, hopefully more.”

Mr Rowlands advises novice teachers in the Territory to advance education by “quiet perseverance, adaptability and bravery”.

“Have patience, don’t ever yell, and get to know your student’s individual learning needs as much as possible,” he said. “Be courageous, and try new and innovative ways of teaching and learning.

“Our world is ever changing, and so are our student’s needs. It is our responsibility to prepare them for their future. Teachers should have high expectations of their students, and be prepared to model those expectations.”

The Teaching in the Territory Awards will be part of World Teachers’ Day celebrations on 26 October.

Picture: Simon Rowlands with student Khori Mills-Richardson

Last updated: 19 September 2018