Understanding kids the key to being an ace teacher
KARLENE GRINHAM, known as Mrs G to her students at Hinterland Christian College in Mullumbimby, has been named one of Australia's top teachers in the 2013 ASG NEiTA Awards for Inspirational Educators.
She is one of 14 NSW teachers selected from more than 690 finalists made up of early childhood, primary and secondary teachers nationally.
The Australian Scholarships Group is a not-for-profit, member-based organisation helping to create educational opportunities for children.
Ms Grinham said her secret to being an inspirational educator was to have a passion to get to know her pupils.
"Knowing how they feel loved makes it easier to set challenges that they can have success in," she said.
"Sometimes they can feel overwhelmed by the amount they feel they have to know.
"One of our kindies here for orientation day went home disappointed because he thought that he should know how to read by the end of the day."
Being dyslexic herself, Ms Grinham believes her experience of learning helped her become a better teacher.
"I was undiagnosed until I was studying to be a teacher in 1990-92.
"It made me approach learning in different ways and in turn I can do that for the children."
Mrs Grinham has been teaching at Hinterland College for 20 years. She grew up at the Pocket and attended Mullumbimby High School.
Hinterland principal Richard Sansom said Mrs Grinham's award was richly deserved.
"She is a phenomenally gifted teacher and a passionate and dedicated educator," he said.
Hinterland Christian College currently has 45 students up to Year 8 and will next year expand to offer places in Years 9 and 10.
And while Mrs Grinham is busy downplaying her award, her pupils are overjoyed.
"They say to me: 'You are always celebrating us, now it's our turn to celebrate you.'"