Meet the teachers

On Friday 29 October, staff across the Diocese of Sale will commemorate World Teachers’ Day.

Among those being recognised for their hard work and dedication are graduate teachers, Miss Gab Velten and Miss Karla Giuliano from St Clare’s Primary School in Officer.

The two women graduated high school in the Diocese of Sale in 2017, completed their studies at the Australian Catholic University (ACU) together, and commenced their teaching careers at the same Catholic primary school this year.

Gab and Karla were both also recipients of the Elizabeth Hunt Scholarship. The accolade recognised their dedication to their studies and commitment to faith during their secondary schooling. Gab and Karla each received a scholarship of $1,500 per year for the four years of their teaching degree at ACU.

Both girls were thrilled to have the extra support during their studies.

“I felt overjoyed to receive the Elizabeth Hunt Scholarship.

“Receiving the scholarship opened many opportunities for me, including working as an Education Support Officer at St Clare’s Primary School, which ultimately led to my current graduate position in 2021,” said Karla.

Gab echoed this sentiment.

“The scholarship was a huge support throughout my degree. I felt connected and supported by the Diocese throughout my degree, which I am very grateful for. I looked to the pioneering spirit of Elizabeth Hunt as I commenced my teaching career this year,” she said.

Gab and Karla, like thousands of teachers across the state, have had a particularly challenging year with remote schooling. Despite these extenuating circumstances, the women have been dedicated to their students and found moments of joy in each school day.

“Every day I am inspired by the curious, creative and inquiring minds of the children in my learning group. Working alongside passionate and knowledgeable staff, continues to drive me to learn and become a better practitioner,” Gab said.

For Karla, happiness has come from the small lightbulb moments she witnesses each day.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed building relationships with students and observing their academic and personal growth. I feel so grateful to be able to share my faith through the learning environment and have the opportunity to recontextualise scripture for students.

“A teacher once told me that I have a zest for life and I thinking working with kids is the best way to be surrounded by others who do too,” she said.

When asked if they have any advice for aspiring teachers, Gab and Karla both said gaining as much experience as you can is key.

“My advice is to volunteer or work in a school setting. Gain as much experience working with children, ask questions and be curious,” Gab said.

According to Karla, it’s important to learn how different students have varying needs.

“These rich experiences shape you as a teacher and help prepare you for managing behaviour, building relationships and differentiating to meet individual student needs. Connect with practising teachers, observe them and take mental notes.

“Know that your first year will be a bumpy ride and a very steep learning curve. Know that you will learn so much from your students and that it is truly the most rewarding job,” Karla said.

The Elizabeth Hunt Scholarship is available to students in the Diocese of Sale and is awarded each year at the Leadership Eucharist and Dinner, which marks the opening of Catholic Education Week in the Diocese.