Teach Well Alumnus, Jade Foster, wins big at the Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards!

Teach Well Alumnus, Jade Foster, wins big at the Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards!

Masterclass and Instructional Lead Fellowship Alumnus, Jade Foster, has recently been awarded a national Commonwealth Bank 2023 Teaching Fellowship for her incredible work as a primary school teacher and Instructional Coach at Mount Tarcoola Primary School in Geraldton. Jade was one of the inspiring educators recognised and rewarded for their dedication to their students’ education at the Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards, presented by Schools Plus, at Parliament House in Canberra. We recently had a chat with Jade about the award…

Congratulations, Jade!

Thanks! It’s an honour to be recognised as a winner of a Commonwealth Bank Teaching award, supported by Schools Plus. Schools Plus is a national education not-for-profit that believes that every child has the right to the same opportunities, no matter their background or postcode.

You were one of 12 teachers nationwide to receive the 12-month Teaching Fellowship. Which part of this opportunity are you most excited about?

I’m excited about quite a few opportunities over the coming 12 months. Firstly, it has been inspiring to network with like-minded educators from all over the country. I have met and keep in regular contact with the other teaching fellows and we are already sharing resources that would benefit each other’s schools.

I’m looking forward to planning and implementing a strategic project worth $25 000 at my school. The project is still in its planning phase, but it will most likely focus on continuing our journey in improving student outcomes by cultivating a high-impact instruction culture. This could look like developing an instructional playbook, so all staff have a shared understanding of teaching and learning across the school, as well as developing a fine-grained, low-variance mathematics curriculum. I’m also keen to refine our assessment procedures to ensure we are tracking data effectively and making data-informed decisions. It’s been a rewarding experience being mentored by Dr Stephen Brown who is working with me to fine tune my strategic plan to ensure the best possible results for students.

Finally, I’m excited about the study tour in Singapore in 2024. Singapore’s education system is among the top-performing globally, so I’m looking forward to observing classrooms and learning from teachers in Singapore to bring new ideas back to my school community.

You have had a truly transformational impact in your school and the surrounding community, what do you believe helped you grow most as a teacher?

When I graduated as a teacher, I worked at some of the lowest socio-economic schools in my town. Recognising the need for improved teacher efficacy to support the students has been a significant driver for my growth. It has motivated me to continually seek out evidence-based teaching strategies that will positively impact student’s lives. Witnessing the tangible benefits of evidence-based strategies on student performance evokes a profound sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. The Teach Well Masterclass has been invaluable in making that happen!

Feeling valued and respected by my colleagues and executive team throughout my career has been a powerful motivator in helping me grow as a teacher. Their appreciation has reinforced my sense of purpose and has encouraged me to keep striving for excellence.

The constant expressions of gratitude from present and past students and their parents have been a tremendous source of inspiration. This positive feedback reinforces that the work I do is making a positive impact on students’ lives, and this encouragement drives me to continue doing my best.

10 teachers were also recognised at the ceremony with Early Career Teaching awards. What advice would you give to early career or pre-service teachers looking to follow in your inspirational footsteps?

1. Remember your passion and purpose.
We are here for the children – “Every child matters every day.” If something isn’t positively impacting your students wellbeing or academic outcomes, it’s not worth doing.
2. Be a lifelong learner.
Stay up to date with the latest evidence-based teaching strategies, trial them in your classroom, and share them with your colleagues.
3. Build strong relationships.
Building strong relationships with students, parents, colleagues and administrators will positively impact your teaching experience. Be kind, listen without judgement and speak with authenticity.
4. Choose your attitude.
The power to influence your own experiences and outcomes lies within your control. I always approach situations with a positive mindset.

We look forward to continuing our work with Jade and her brilliant colleagues across the Mid-West region, and couldn’t be happier to see her well-rewarded for her incredible hard work and pursuit of excellence.


Photo credit: Geraldton Guardian