On 10 August, SMGS K/1 teacher, Ms Emma Smith, was announced as the 2016 recipient of the Teachers’ Guild of NSW Award for teachers in their early years of teaching (second or third year). The entire SMGS community was bursting with pride about the beloved K/1 teacher’s nomination to such a prestigious award.

SMGS firmly believes the junior school years are fundamental in the establishment of strong educational foundations and work practices. With innovative and energetic teachers like Emma, these foundations and practices are delivered at an exceptionally high level and this was acknowledged by the NSW Teachers’ Guild Award.

We caught up with Emma to ask her a few questions about her award nomination:

Q. What does this award mean to you?

The award is exciting, not only for myself, but my colleagues and school. The award acknowledges the hard work that I put in each and every day to provide the best education and foundations to the children in my class to be successful lifelong learners. It is also a testament to my colleagues, as teaching really is about the educators that you work with, so the award acknowledges them as well.

Q. How has your time at SMGS prepared you to be successful in winning this award?

SMGS has given me the opportunity to implement high quality education programs that involve fun, engaging learning experiences, which is what the early years of school should be about. I have support from my team, the Director of Junior School and the Principal, which gives me confidence in my teaching and which then allowed me to feel confident in the award process.

Q. What was the hardest part of the application process?

The hardest part of the process was writing a report about myself – being honest about my strengths and weaknesses whilst acknowledging that I believed I would be a worthy recipient of the award.

Q. Do you have any role models or mentors who have helped guide you in your teaching career?

My mum would have to be my biggest role model. She was in early education for over 40 years and was one of the reasons that I wanted to become a teacher. She guided and gave so many children the best start in life because of her passion and commitment to teaching and I think that is one quality that I have inherited from her.

Q. You are clearly passionate about teaching; do you have any advice for teachers and aspiring teachers to help them be successful in their early years of teaching?

Be true to yourself and your beliefs and philosophies about teaching. When you are true to what you believe in, it will shine through in everything you do, every day.

Emma is also one of the teachers of SMGS’ transition to Kindergarten program, Let’s Explore. Regardless of where you choose to educate your child, SMGS would love to help in best preparing them for their new beginning and provide quality feedback on their readiness for school in 2017. The program runs for 5 weeks starting on Friday 21 October. For more information, please visit www.smgs.nsw.edu.au/letsexplore