“Living my childhood dream”
Anika Brown, Halls Creek District High School
WA Beginning Teacher of the Year 2021
Halls Creek District High School pre-primary teacher Anika Brown had her eyes set on a teaching career for as long as she can remember.
Soon after completing her early childhood education degree, Anika moved from her hometown of Perth to Halls Creek and hasn’t looked back.
“I am currently living my childhood dream,” she says.
“I was the child getting myself in to my school uniform on the weekends and crying because my parents wouldn’t take me to school.
“I loved school and I continue to love school.”
Halls Creek in the remote Kimberley region of Western Australia is one of the most diverse and isolated places to work.
For Anika, there is no greater place to start a teaching career.
She enjoys the challenges and inspiration of working in the remote North West.
“My upbringing and past experiences are vastly different from the culture and daily life of my students and families,” she says.
“It has challenged me as a person, shaped me as a teacher and continuously inspires my personal growth, learning and development.”
Over the past few years, Anika’s natural warmth and infectiously bubbly personality has created a safe and inviting learning environment.
This has boosted her students’ confidence, developed their reading and writing skills, and helped increase attendance.
Anika is sensitive to her students’ needs. She has deep respect for the local Aboriginal culture and understands the lives and aspirations of students in remote communities.
She provides a pathway to success for her students by allowing them to walk in two worlds.
She says she focuses on building strong routines and momentum in her class and can see the positive impact this has on student progress.
“I promote this by fostering a sense of belonging through valuing first languages,” Anika says.
“I provide opportunities for students to be immersed in, and share, their culture while explicitly teaching Standard Australian English, school behaviours and skills necessary to thrive in a range of contexts,” she says.
“Success for students in my classroom looks like students getting themselves to school each day and actively participating in classroom routines and activities.
“I have established high expectations and predictable routines day in and day out resulting in a safe learning environment where students are certain of what will be happening and how.
“By providing a predictable and safe learning environment for all of my students, they know each day they are safe to challenge themselves and are going to be successful.”
Anika describes living and working in the Kimberley as incredibly rewarding.
“Everyone knows you, there’s a sense of family and the students are excited to come to school every day to see you.
“My passion for teaching is motivated by the relationships I have built with my students, their families and the community.”
Anika hopes her students will remember her and the lessons she taught them when they grow up.
“Everyone has a teacher in their memory who inspired them, cared about them or didn’t give up on them,” she says.
“I hope to be that teacher for my students and I hope I have familiar faces approaching me in the future to tell me I was their favourite teacher in school.”
This award recognises beginning teachers who have taught up to three years. The award category is for qualified teachers who have taught for up to three years and are working in our schools with a significant proportion of the week dedicated to classroom teaching.
This award is proudly sponsored by Edith Cowan University.
- Anika Brown, Halls Creek District High School
- Kaili-Skye Beeson, Kalgoorlie Primary School
- Louise Legerstee, Oakwood Primary School
- Samantha Tohl, Dawul Remote Community School