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Making a Difference
Written on the 24 May 2017 by scotch
Few can match the dedication Kate Cliff has to her job. Having worked as an English teacher at Scotch College in Adelaide for more than 12 years, Cliff was nominated for EducationHQ's 2016 Unsung Hero Competition.
Fuelled by a selfless spirit, Cliff has gone above and beyond to set up an English support program during her lunch hours to help students maximise their potential.
Yet when quizzed about why she does it, she remains modest.
"There's a whole range of reasons why people are looking for help.
"Some of them want help with essay structure, some with grammar and punctuation, some might have missed a concept along the way, and maybe some want to practice an oral presentation before they deliver it to the class.
"So there's plenty of reasons why I run a support group," Cliff says.
"I think as teachers, we all want to help people. Particularly when people are motivated to develop and improve their skills, and they're seeking that out, of course I'll give up my time to help anybody.
"I think we're all like that in the teaching profession. I've just formalised it in a weekly session where I advertise that I am available so they can pop in if they want to.
"But at the school I work at, there's a real culture of being available to help because we're all really motivated to get the best from our students," she says.
The experienced secondary teacher also explained where her passion for English comes from, and how important it is for her that her students are able to communicate effectively.
"I think the way we communicate with people goes into all areas of our lives...
"If they can develop their communication skills, their writing skills, their expression, then that helps them in all of their subject areas. No matter where you want to go in life, I think how we communicate underpins everything" she says.
While Cliff's devotion to her craft is certainly praise-worthy, it is her unrelenting motivation to improve herself that distinguishes her from the pack.
"I've been to a whole range of different workshops and training about all sorts of things - how to help people with dyslexia, how to work with people using phonics, how to help different students that need tutoring.
"At our school, we've got a fantastic special needs coordinator, but I just went to these workshops to up-skill even further on how to tutor students one-on-one based on their specific needs."
-- article by Shiv Nalapat appears in Australian Teacher Magazine, May 2017
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