AFTER a conversation with Year 4 teacher Anthony Horn it is hard not to feel inspired.
His dedication to going above and beyond in and outside the classroom is not only seen through the work he does with children at West Beechboro Primary School, or by his achievement as a second-time nominee for WA Primary Teacher of the Year – it can be seen in the proud eyes of his students, who are simply ecstatic to see him recognised for his commitment to the role.
Engaging his students in charity work, extra-curricular mathematics and sports clubs and developing relationships with each of his students are just some of the reasons he stands out from the crowd.
If he is the 2018 WA Primary Teacher of the Year, Mr Horn would like to use his prize money to better educate himself on engaging boys in the classroom.
“I am passionate about boys education,” he said.
“The idea, as I get to the end of my career, is to be that professional on staff who somebody can come to and say, I’ve got a really difficult boy but I know Anthony knows a lot about boys in education.
“So much is said out in the community now about men and boys and mental wellness, to be able to get involved in the science and understanding behind that, to help at this level before they get into high school is huge.”
Finding a hunger for teaching came slowly for Mr Horn who tried his hand at an architecture degree, photo journalism, the Air Force, had a job driving forklifts and even as a basketball player.
A basketball coach studying teaching and physical education gave Mr Horn the idea to pursue a job in teaching.
“I looked at his life and I thought, that looks good, he goes out and has fun,” he said.
“The fact that you can have fun with kids was the hook that got me in.”
Mr Horn found his feet at Jerramungup District High School in WA’s south.
“I had no idea then, but looking back now I can see how much it meant,” he said.
“The most rewarding experience I’ve had even through my career was in those two years.
“By the time I was at my next school, Westminster Primary School where I went as a kid, I’d come full circle and I can remember walking from my classroom thinking, this is what I’m supposed to do.”
From then on Mr Horn has come leaps and bounds gaining significant experience at Scotch College and taking on extra responsibilities at West Beechboro Primary School, driving principal Ray Boyd to nominate him not once but twice for WA Primary Teacher of the Year.
“He probably underplayed what he does, but he steps well and truly outside what is expected of a teacher,” Mr Boyd said.
“He does more than his job, that’s why it’s easy to nominate him again.”
The primary principal said more often than not Mr Horn was the first in and last out each day.
“His relationship with kids is outstanding and in our community that’s critical,” he said.
“He just wants to make a difference.”
A teacher for 24 years, Mr Horn has watched the world of education change with the introduction of interactive whiteboards, tablet devices and parent communication tools.
“We have this thing called Seesaw, which is a digital portfolio… I can upload photos and comments and bang, off to parents, I get comments from them within seconds.”
“It facilitates amazing conversation at home as well, parents know what’s happening, they can engage right away.”
There are 43 finalists across 11 categories in the annual State Education Awards.
Echo News will feature Edney Primary Principal of the Year nominee Aaron Chaplin and Swan View Senior High School Services Staff Member of the Year nominee Sally Bradley in coming editions.
By Claire Ottaviano