From an early age Daniel Fortini knew that he wanted to become a teacher. Having watched his mother teach special needs children his entire life, Daniel wanted to follow in her footsteps and began tutoring students while completing his undergraduate degree at UWA. In 2015 Daniel enrolled into the Master of Teaching Secondary where he was awarded a Centenary Mathematics Scholarship from the Department of Education in Western Australia.
The Scholarships are offered by the Department to UWA to encourage Australians to choose secondary teaching in mathematics as a career pathway. As part of the scholarship Daniel was immersed into a government school culture and mentored by education leaders such as mathematics teacher Anne Wilson from Mirrabooka Senior High School.
“The scholarships allowed me to hone my teaching skills and network with those in the education sector. It also provided financial support which meant I could quit my job and focus on my studies,” says Daniel.
“My experience at Mirrabooka Senior High School was fantastic. It was a perfect combination of challenging scenarios; fulfilling as I was able to meet a variety of amazing students, staff, parents, caregivers from diverse backgrounds and; authentic in that I experienced an uncensored taste of the highs and lows of a year in the life of a teacher.”
Anne Wilson has taught mathematics at Mirrabooka Senior High school for many years. With mathematics teaching as her passion she is also currently involved in a significant Australia wide project called “Reframing Mathematical Futures” which involves a targeted teaching approach with a strong focus on mathematical reasoning. Anne took Daniel under her wing and showed him how to apply his theoretical background into a school environment.
“Teachers and schools have a responsibility to help the next generation of teachers to learn the ropes and become great educators. Teachers of Mathematics are part of an aging workforce and it is important we do our part to ensure the future is successful. I have learned a lot during my years teaching students and know that I can play a part in the process of renewal,” says Ms Wilson.
“It is great to support others and to see them have success and, in Daniel’s case, a significant success. Daniel spent the year learning to identify student needs and fine-turning his teaching skills. He also got to learn about the challenges associated with low SEI schools and their students. He is now far more than merely a graduate teacher.”
Daniel is now working as a teacher at Mirrabooka Senior High School.
“To my mentors Anne, Alicia, Cristina – you taught me so many things and did so much for me in my time at Mirrabooka Senior High School. Thank you for your patience, your teachings, your professionalism, and your friendship. To the students’ thank you for giving me the chance to build rapport with you and to feel comfortable in the school from day one.”
Western Australia is experiencing an extreme shortage of teachers qualified and experienced to teach in the areas of STEM. The Department of Education in Western Australia has offered UWA 10 x $10,000 scholarships to be awarded to students with a mathematics background again this year.
Find out if you are eligible for the Department of Education Secondary Mathematics Scholarship.
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