Gloria West is a Literacy and Numeracy Coach at Catholic Education Services (CES) – Cairns. She works with eleven primary schools in the southern region of the diocese to support teachers to use best practice in the classroom, and often to work with students directly.
Gloria has worked in the Cairns diocese as a primary teacher at St Therese’s Bentley Park for 20 years. From 2013 to 2016 Gloria was the school-based Literacy and Numeracy Coach there. She has been in the role with CES – Cairns for four years and continues to grow relationships with new and existing teachers working in the Cairns diocese.
What is best practice when teaching literacy and numeracy?
“I guide teachers to use explicit instruction (I do, we do, you do,) and to gradually release responsibility to the student for their own learning. I support visible learning which has also become a necessary way of working. This includes the implementation of learning intentions, success criteria and feedback in the lessons.
Also, I promote the development of professional partnerships as being important. This encourages teachers to work together and learn from each other’s practices.”
What difference do you make to outcomes for teachers and students?
“Through the initiative funded by the Australian Government since 2013 (National Partnerships), schools have been able to release teachers to work with me to analyse data, plan lessons, take part in team teaching, develop assessments and then reflect on their teaching practices. I work with school-based coaches to help sustain the above practices within their schools.
The service I provide to teachers has a flow-on effect where students are exposed to the best possible teaching methods and support in our schools.”
What’s been your biggest buzz in the role so far?
“The biggest highlight for me so far, was whilst teaching a Prep writing lesson based on the question ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’, one of the children wrote “I want to write and be like Mrs West.”
This made me feel humbled at the thought that a young child enjoyed my lesson so much that they want to replicate that when they grow up. It’s comments like these that make my job worthwhile.”