Teacher Aide of the Year finalist

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Julie Buick, an education support officer at Kolbe Catholic College, Greenvale Lakes.23 August 2021

Julie Buick, an education support officer at Kolbe Catholic College, Greenvale Lakes, is the Victorian finalist in 2021’s Australian Teacher Aide of the Year Awards.

The Australian Teacher Aide of the Year Award is a national prize from Australian Teacher Aide. Nominated by the college’s Learning Support Coordinator, Jane Wenlock, Julie is one of eight finalists from across the country. The winner will be announced on 2 September during Australian Teacher Aide Appreciation Week.

According to Jane:

Julie is a valuable member of their team, who works with some of their most vulnerable students. She has a true love of assisting those students who find learning very difficult. She also has an administration role organising timetables and working on NCCD information.

Julie’s nomination highlights her ability to assist students with exceptional needs. She supports students with intellectual disability, ensuring that they have completed the set tasks and understood the concepts that are being explored. She works with teachers to differentiate learning, so students have a curriculum that meets their academic and social needs. Julie also has excellent rapport with all students in the classroom and ensures that their work is completed to the highest possible standard. Julie discusses with students how they are role models for other students in the class and how they can be the best possible version of themselves. These discussions often produce a change of attitude, and students often become more confident and positive about their learning, as well as their attitude to school.

As part of her role at the college, Julie is the assistant to the Learning Support Coordinator. She has an excellent rapport with all staff, and collaborates with her colleagues to ensure that programs are differentiated for students and that all paperwork is up to date for the collection of data for NCCD. When other LSOs were struggling with their notes and the amount of administration work to do, Julie set up a template for others to use which has proven to be very successful in cutting down the amount of time spent on administration work. Julie adjusts daily timetables and works with her colleagues to ensure that the needs of the students are matched to the availability of staff. Julie also mentors new LSOs and assists in inducting them in college processes. This is an invaluable part of her role as staff feel welcomed and informed, making their workplace a positive experience.

Julie has engaged in a variety of professional learning to develop her knowledge and skills. She has completed many of the modules through ATA and facilitated discussions with other staff on what she has learnt. Currently, Julie is also doing further self-development and training through a counselling course.