“This is a magic place. We are making tomorrow.”
Jonathan Petch, Wattle Grove Primary School
WA Premier's Primary Teacher of the Year 2019
When asked to remember an inspirational teacher, most of us will recall someone who did so much more than teach.
We remember a teacher who was 110% committed to their job, valued each and every student and worked to understand the whole child.
It is these attributes and more that will no doubt see Jonathan Petch, teacher at Wattle Grove Primary School and the WA Premier’s Primary Teacher of the Year 2019 winner, long remembered as an inspirational teacher.
Jonathan is described by his peers as having an absolute commitment, first and foremost, to developing strong relationships with his students built on mutual respect.
He is a teacher who looks beyond the test results and classroom walls to understand each child.
Students are excited and inspired to be in his class and parents value the sheer professionalism and strong role model that he provides for their children.
His students say they “have to work very hard in Mr Petch’s class, but we love it” and their desire to not disappoint him is a true indication of the respect and regard in which Jonathan is held.
So what inspires a teacher like Jonathan?
Jonathan has been inspired by his parents, his own teachers, his students and by the words he sees every time he walks into Wattle Grove Primary School.
“At Wattle Grove we have a sign in the front office that reads ‘This is a magic place. We are making tomorrow’,” Jonathan says.
“These are strong words that come with a huge responsibility. They inspire me to be my best every day.”
Jonathan believes it’s no exaggeration to say that a great teacher can change a student’s life.
“I always held my own teachers in the highest regard and know that those who were the most influential role models in my life, weren’t just there for the academic achievement. They were great educators because they connected with their students.”
Jonathan was inspired by a secondary school teacher who had so much passion for her class and put her whole heart into teaching.
“She spent time getting to know her students and I believe that is one of the most important things for a teacher to know – how to reach and develop each student.”
Jonathan is also inspired on a daily basis by his students.
“I have a job that allows me to be immersed in little people’s personal achievements, accomplishments and growth at any point throughout the day.
“When a child achieves, they are instantly proud, and I share that pride. This isn’t necessarily because of something I have done – it is because of the accomplishments of others which I am part of.”
Jonathan’s teaching style is often described as ‘relentless’. He attributes this work ethic to growing up as one of seven boys in his family, having his first job at the age of six and watching how hard his parents worked.
“My first job was delivering milk on a milk run. It was a family business and growing up in a household of seven boys, the obvious answer to tiring out the kids was to have them run around the neighbourhood,” he says.
“We were raised to always put our customers first so I had strong foundations of respect and care from an early age. We were on the milk run before school and after school, four days a week for nine years.”
Jonathan said his parents were, and still are, the hardest working people, who often worked many different jobs to provide for their family.
“My parents are in their late 60’s and early 70’s and still work today. I am proud of how dedicated and committed they are to their work.
“This has inspired me to work hard and I will not stop until my students have achieved what they have set out to do.”
Jonathan went into teaching to educate, to guide and to inspire children.
“I always wanted a job that I was excited to get up in the morning for and being a teacher has certainly exceeded those expectations. It really is more than a job,” he says.
When asked what kept him motivated and passionate about teaching, his answer was simple.
“I love my job. I love being a teacher. Teaching has provided many opportunities to guide, inspire, encourage and assist someone on their path to achieving their best,” he says.
“The moments that make me most proud are watching the friendships that develop along the way, the authentic passion for learning that takes place, the goals that are achieved and the milestones that are met.
“This is what teaching is truly about.”
As for being remembered by his students, Jonathan said it was more about what they gleaned from him for their journey through life.
“If I could give my students one piece of life advice it would be kind to one another,” he says.
“That one notion epitomises so much. When kindness is shared, it grows and the result is always going to be happiness. That is a message worth remembering.
“If they attribute their values in some small part to me, then I will have made a difference.”
WA Premier's Primary Teacher of the Year 2019
This award recognises primary school teachers who are knowledgeable, caring and creative – and passionate about inspiring younger students to want to learn. They encourage respect in the classroom, know their students and how they learn, and engage in professional learning.
Proudly sponsored by BHP.
- Jonathan Petch, Wattle Grove Primary School
- Veronica Akse, Treendale Primary School
- Renee Knapp, Boyup Brook District High School
- Michael Webb, Rosalie Primary School