Many people aspire to be as happy in their work as Kendall Schuts. A primary school teacher in Geraldton – a regional port city four-hour’s drive north of Perth, Western Australia – Schuts spends her workdays among the eager smiles and laughter of a class of five- and six-year-olds.
“My favourite part of being a teacher is seeing their faces light up when they learn something new,” says Schuts, who teaches year 1 students at Waggrakine Primary School. “I also really enjoy working in an open classroom with my colleague, Emily Thompson.”
The two teachers work together to teach a total of 44 students, including two autistic children who have a full-time educational assistant to support their learning.
“Teaching with a colleague in an open environment makes all aspects of the job even more enjoyable,” enthuses Schuts.
Her appreciation for her colleagues extends to the rest of the school, where she has worked since 2012 after landing a job there shortly after graduating from Curtin.
“Both inside and outside the classroom, I have been lucky enough to work with some amazing teachers and education assistants in my short career,” says Schuts, who also sits on the school’s finance committee and maths team.
The staff at Waggrakine Primary School have been equally appreciative of Schuts, nominating her as the WA Beginning Teacher of the Year in 2013 – a title she ended up winning along with eight others.
Schuts was nominated again in 2014, this time for the Curtin University Teaching Excellence Award, under the WA Regional Achievement and Community Awards banner. She won, but describes the real highlight as being presented with the award by Curtin’s Lina Pelliccione – one of Schuts’ old lecturers who she says “always inspired” her.
Now, it is Schuts’ turn to inspire – and it’s a role she takes great pride in.
“I hope to continue to make a difference to the lives of the students I teach and to work closely with the families within the school to build positive relationships,” she says.
Name: Kendall Schuts