The University of Southern Queensland Teaching Excellence Award acknowledges teachers who have the ability and skills to inspire students of all ages through leadership and innovation. The Award recognises the significant demands required of them and is for those role models who are passionate about their work and have demonstrated a pattern of outstanding service.
Matt Petersen provides leadership at different levels, classroom, cohort and whole school. Over the past 5 years I have established a Transition Program in and out of the Junior Secondary phase of learning. A significant element of this program is training senior student to become 'Gurumba Bigi' (Good day in the language of the Yugara people) leaders who facilitate communication and relationship-building activities with the Year 7s, and act as their buddies during their first year of high school.
At the cohort level Matt has been a Year Coordinator, leading assemblies, monitoring attendance and discipline. Data analysis showed behaviour incidents increased sharply during unstructured break times. He surveyed the students and they indicated that they were bored at lunchtime. Matt galvanized the Student Representative Council (SRC) in facilitating student-led lunch-time activities for the whole school. He collaborated with the Deputy Principals regarding teacher supervision and PGD, and the development of a specific play area. Students led Futsal competitions, basketball shooting competitions, and sourced ball and playground equipment to be loaned and managed by the students. One School behaviour data analysis shows a sustainable decline in lunchtime incidents over the past 12 months.
At the school level, Matt led the Pre-service teacher program for 4 years. This involved placing and managing over 40 students each year from approximately 7 universities. His work has centred on inducting and supporting Pre-service teachers in applying the Professional Standards within school context, then guiding classroom teachers (mentors) in making appropriate judgements of Pre-service students against the Standards. Today, Yeronga SHS is a school of choice for a number of pre-service teachers from a number of universities.