WHEN Wattle Grove Primary School teacher Carl Sanderson was a little tacker sitting behind the desk in the classroom he was the self-proclaimed “nerdy kid”.
Now the Sawyers Valley resident’s efforts in front of the class teaching gifted and talented students have earned him a spot as a finalist in the WA Premier’s Primary Teacher of the Year Awards.
“Gifted students don’t mind school work being hard, but they are terrified of being bored,” he said.
“In a normal class these students are very capable and are often left to their own devices as teachers are busy trying to cater for students with a big range of abilities.
“Because teachers are spending most of their time with students who are struggling or are middle of the road it is difficult to give gifted students their full attention.”
Mr Sanderson said the school’s push to develop a Multi-Aged Academic Class had paid off for gifted students.
“I teach a class of 30 year 4, 5 and 6 students who were identified as high achievers,” he said.
“We make sure they don’t feel like braniacs or nerds and we have a lot of fun.
“They are learning amazing things in maths, science and English and we have a focus on pushing them to be critical thinkers and solve complex problems.”
Mr Sanderson said learning should be a joy for all students.
“I was always a bit of a nerdy kid and I think we all remember teachers who were wonderful and those who were awful,” he said.
“School can be a boring, soul destroying prison or we can make it somewhere where students can’t wait to get there and learn.
“I like to help kids develop that passion for education and there are lots of other unbelievably great teachers out there, especially in the public sector.”
Education Minister Sue Ellery said the education awards were a fantastic way for the community to celebrate top public educators and the difference they make to the lives of students every day.
“I am delighted to acknowledge the high performance and dedication of staff in public schools across the state,” she said.
“By continually providing a high-quality education, they are empowering young people to become confident, resilient and well-rounded individuals who have the opportunity to achieve success in their adult lives.
Winners of the WA Education Awards 2017 will be announced on November 24 at Crown Perth.