Carinity Education Rockhampton teacher Mitchell McAulay-Powell is making an extraordinary difference in the lives of students who had previously disengaged from schooling, helping to improve their educational and career prospects.
Now Mitchell is a finalist for the Queensland College of Teachers TEACHX Outstanding Contribution to School Community Award.
The former lawyer has achieved inspirational results with students whose education had stalled, using relationship-building and his knowledge of pop culture to engage with teens while allowing students to self-manage their wellbeing and learning.
“I love thinking of new ways to engage with students and to try to get them into the classroom. It’s about really getting to know them and working really hard to really break that stigma around wellbeing and turning their self-confidence issues into courage,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell’s approach is working, with students achieving individual record attendance levels. One student has attended school every day for two months after not going for two years.
“I have a passion for seeing students grow and improve not just academically but also emotionally. We give students a chance to learn and prosper through engagement methods that you would not see in a mainstream setting,” Mitchell said.
“I enjoy being able to see new ways of engaging students and seeing them improve each day is a blessing. It is one of the reasons why I became a teacher.
“I’ve loved every moment of teaching. It’s been an absolutely incredible experience. I love it. I know I can make a difference in these kids’ lives.”
Of the 29 Queensland teachers who are finalists over six categories of the TEACHX awards, Mitchell is the only one from Central Queensland. Winners will be announced on October 28, on the eve of World Teachers’ Day celebrations in Queensland, and will win $5,000 for professional development.