WA Aboriginal and Islander Education Officer of the Year 2019

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Sliding open doors of opportunity

Lois Little, Newton Moore Senior High School
WA Aboriginal and Islander Education Officer of the Year 2019

A perfect childhood among a loving, caring, supportive family of twelve was where the spark to Lois Little’s dream of being a teacher ignited.

She actively instils her family’s values of respect and love in her students and colleagues.

“My parents were the most loving, caring people who opened up our home to all our families and friends and everyone was welcome.” Lois says.

Lois was inspired to work with children by two empowering women in her life who are teachers, when she saw the positive impact they were making on students’ lives every day.

Although her role as an Aboriginal and Islander Education Officer is challenging at times she loves her job dearly.

“Definitely my family are the ones that drive me, they are my passion,” Lois says.

“The love that I have for my husband, children, grannies, parents, siblings, nieces and nephews is above and beyond, they are my life.”

Lois remains passionate and motivated in her role through her family and students.

“They are the reason I keep doing this job, even when things are at their hardest,” she says.

“The most rewarding part is seeing the respect the students have for me and this carries on into their adult years.”

An achievement that Lois exclaims she is most proud of as an Aboriginal and Islander Education Officer is the relationship she has built with the kids, their families and the community.

“I encourage the parents of students to support their children so that they can grow up knowing what they are capable of, make sure they know that they are loved and that they are special.”

Lois encourages her students to always strive to be the best they can be, to never give up and to live their dream as the world is their oyster.

The toughest lesson that has shaped her pathway of life is letting people make mistakes so that they learn things that they have to experience.

“I want my students at the end of the day to feel like they are taking something away with them and like they haven’t wasted their day.”

Lois continually supports students with mental health issues and works with a leadership team to put plans in place for those students. These students are assisted through a whole of child approach and trauma informed practice so that they are under the best care.

The leadership team speak highly of how much Lois cares for her students and how she is one of the only safe spaces that some kids have.

Most importantly, Lois has changed the lives of her students and made a lasting impact on their future endeavours. Students speak highly of Lois and the impact that she has on their days at school.

When students are going through a rough patch or having a bad day, Lois is supportive and makes students feel as though they are not alone. Lois’ work colleagues have an endless sense of admiration and respect for her due to the love and care she has towards students.

Lois has also impacted the lives of community members by creating a link between the school and the community. She developed the school’s ‘Family Linkage’ project that maps all family and kinship relationships within the school to support teachers and other staff members in understanding family relations and gaining greater cultural knowledge and awareness.

She actively works with students, staff and elders when developing the Acknowledgement of Country for school events such as the Nanna and Pop morning teas.

Aboriginal Elder Dennis Jetta explains how Lois is like the sliding doors at the front of the school.

“Those sliding doors weren’t always there; we had to push the doors open. Now we can come through because those doors open and we feel we are welcome here,” he says.

WA Aboriginal and Islander Education Officer of the Year 2019

This award recognises the significant role of Aboriginal and Islander Education Officers in supporting school staff to develop culturally inclusive teaching and learning programs for Aboriginal students. They build relationships with Aboriginal communities that allow culture and languages to be shared.

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  • Lois Little, Newton Moore Senior High School
  • Daniella Borg, Governor Stirling Senior High School
  • Gwen Gray, Busselton Senior High School
  • Jade Muli, Warwick Senior High School