From the outset her goal was to alter perceptions and change the way mathematics is taught in the classroom. After all it is a “very creative subject” where manipulatives can be employed to ensure conceptual learning occurs in a “fun way”.
Furthermore mistakes can – and should be - made, Singleton Heights Public School deputy principal, Sarah Rose, explains.
And, now the ongoing efforts of this passionate educator have been recognised by an astute judging panel including Dr Susan James, Janine McIntosh and Micheal Jennings at the 2018 Choose Maths awards.
Sarah has received a $1000 national Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI) Choose Maths Teacher Excellence Award for her innovative approaches to strengthening student engagement with the subject.
“I was not particularly good at Maths at school so that gave me a passion to ensure students learning maths enjoy it and have fun,” she says.
“I wanted to change it so children understood what mathematics is all about. I wanted to build their conceptual understanding rather than just having a procedural understanding. I wanted them to understand the why and how behind it.”
According to AMSI Sarah is creative and innovative and enthusiastically shares her passion with her peers. She has been instrumental in implementing programs such as ‘Taking off with Numeracy’ (TOWN), ‘Targeting EarlyNumeracy’ (TEN) and ‘Ninja Numeracy’ that have reinvigorated maths teaching at the school.
But her inspiring journey began in New Zealand, when the school she was teaching at became involved in pilot numeracy program.
“I was lucky enough to be a part of the numeracy project and I had a lot of training in how children learn mathematics. This sparked my love and passion for making maths come alive in the classroom,” she explains.
After becoming a lead teacher, she then crossed the Tasman and began working at Muswellbrook South PS. However, it didn’t take her peers long to notice Sarah’s exceptional skills and she was encouraged to take on the role of mathematics consultant for the Hunter/Central Coast region.
She filled this role from 2008 to 2010 but missed the classroom so returned to Muswellbrook PS as a deputy principal. A position she then took up at SHPS in 2014.