Teacher firsts at Alekarenge

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Two Alekarenge residents have completed the Advanced Diploma of Education (Professional Education Worker) elevating them to higher positions in the local school.

Newly appointed teachers Leonie Dixon and Sheryl Holmes are now preschool educators described by principal Colin Kiel as “the most collaborative teaching partnership I have ever seen”.

The former assistant teachers are the first members of the community to become teachers — a change that follows a decade of study.

The women describe to students the power of education in helping them achieve their dreams.

Ms Dixon said: “The kids look at us as their role models. I tell them I didn’t finish Year 12…but when I started working at the school I went back to learning.

“It’s better to stay in school, and not get into the rubbish stuff. They may not become a teacher, but we show them they could go all the way [to their goals].”

Mr Kiel believes Leonie and Sheryl are the “best evidence to our young adults that pathways can lead to success when you are willing to work at it”.

“They are the grandmothers, and often the primary care givers, to many of our students,” he said.

“They get the children ready for school every day, set routines, and model how professional adults have their own routines and responsibilities.”

Ms Dixon admits that moving from assistant teacher to teacher comes with the big challenge of managing a whole class.

“There is a bigger workload, including cleaning the toys and floors, and tackling child hygiene,” she said.

“FaFT senior teacher Michelle Leonard has been invaluable as a mentor, guiding early years and support staff who are studying.”

Leonie Dixon with enthralled students
Leonie Dixon with enthralled students

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