WA Premier's Secondary Teacher of the Year 2021

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Charan Pabla, Girrawheen Senior High School
WA Premier's Secondary Teacher of the Year 2021

Girrawheen Senior High School secondary mathematics and science teacher Charan Pabla believes education is not only important to help students gain knowledge and skills, but is also a pathway to a better life.

Growing up in India and in spite of financial hardships, Charan learnt the importance of hard work and education which shaped her as a person.

“I went to an army school where we were introduced to the importance of discipline, hard work and inspired to dream big,” she says.

Charan encourages her students to always put in the hard work and dream big.

At the heart of her teaching is passion and commitment to shaping students’ lives with her supportive and inclusive classroom practices.

“All students should be given an equal opportunity,” she says.

Charan believes anyone can learn despite their circumstances. A key focus of Charan’s is building confidence in her students to help them succeed.

She breaks down complex concepts into regular problem-solving activities and motivates students by applying science concepts to real-world situations.

It allows students to analyse, draw conclusions, learn real-world applications and discover why topics are relevant to their lives.

Her Year 7 class investigated the fundamentals of force through playing tug-of-war.

“I’m proud of making science fun and interesting for the students and getting them to achieve their best,” says Charan.

“Any progress made by my students is a win for me and I am proud of their achievements.”

Charan has inspired students to attend national and international youth science forums and pursue further studies in science and medicine, with one of her students who continued onto doing a PhD in cancer research.

“Knowing that I am making a difference in the lives of my students keeps me motivated and passionate about my role.”

Charan is always thinking of ways she and the school can offer more and be better, which has resulted in many positive opportunities.

Teams of students have been entered into the State Solar Car Challenge winning the state title once, placing second and fourth in other years. Students have also been invited on two occasions to take part in the international event.

This year, a group of Year 10 students from Girrawheen Senior High School were Think Tank Challenge Grand Finalists.

“I hope to inspire all my students to do the best they can,” she says.

She says we shape the future through education by providing students with strong foundations and instilling intrinsic motivation.

In 2010, Charan was the first teacher to have Year 11s come back in Week 7 of Term 4 to begin their Year 12 studies to help them get a head start on their final year at school.

This change at Girrawheen Senior High School was well received by the school executive and was rolled out across other public schools.

Outside of the classroom, Charan commits her own time to provide additional after-school support classes for students which has resulted in positive results.

One of the after-school programs Charan created is an after-school STEM club.

She reached out and created new partnerships with UWA Aspire, ECU Engineering and other organisations to provide engaging opportunities for students to learn more about STEM related subjects, such as robotics.

Through teaching science, Charan is dedicated to building self-belief in students, helping students reach their personal best and encouraging them to remember they can do anything if they put their mind to it.

“I want students to remember me as a teacher who is empathetic, made her students curious about science, set high standards and instilled life-long love for knowledge,” says Charan.

The award category is for qualified secondary school teachers working in our schools with a significant proportion of the week dedicated to classroom teaching.

This award is proudly sponsored by platinum partner BHP.

  • Charan Pabla, Girrawheen Senior High School
  • Catherine MacDougall, Cyril Jackson Senior Campus
  • Claire Burton, Shenton College
  • Jennifer Currie, Lynwood Senior High School