Dubbo teacher lands trifecta with HSC German Beginners “debut” class

Dubbo School of Distance Education takes out top three places in HSC German Beginners.

Image: Dubbo School of Distance Education teacher, Frank Xia’s dedication to adapting learning to suit his students paid dividends with them gaining the first three places in HSC German Beginners.

The countdown to Higher School Certificate results is not just a nervous time for students.

Like so many teachers, Frank Xia from the Dubbo School of Distance Education waited anxiously to discover how his German Beginners class had fared.

A new career teacher, his class of eight were his first-ever HSC students and they had been with him since he started teaching last year.

His first inkling came when he discovered that his student, Jacinta Smith, whose home school is Orange High, topped German Beginners ahead of 95 other students.

Frank’s amazement continued when he was told that two more of his students: Saskia Dorsman (Denison College Bathurst High Campus) and Miya Chesterman (Springwood High) had also finished second and third earning an enviable trifecta for Mr Xia and Dubbo School of Distance Education.

“It came through in dribs and drabs – I did not hear it all at once,” Mr Xia said.

“I found out Jacinta came first.

“I was more relieved to hear that than surprised.

“She is an absolutely amazing student of German and I was relieved that I had done the right thing by helping her to achieve what I knew she was capable of doing.

“When I heard a little later that I had places two and three, that’s when the surprise started to kick in.

“I’m not sure what reaction is appropriate and to be honest I’m still processing it, but my initial reaction was relief that I had done the right thing and the students had achieved.

“I was happy for the students and proud of their success.”

Mr Xia has taken advantage of the unique learning environment offered through distance education.

“I have the opportunity to teach each of them individually, so I try to use that to my advantage,” Mr Xia said.

“For eight students doing the same unit of work I would have taught that unit of eight in slightly different ways depending on what I had identified (was needed) by each student.”

First-placegetter Jacinta Smith has nothing but praise for Mr Xia’s approach and she immediately thought of him when she learnt she had topped the course.

“I immediately wanted to tell my teacher Mr Xia because he helped me so much,” Jacinta said.

“He’s so nice and he is always willing to help you understand stuff – no matter how complicated it is, he is always going to find a way to explain it to you – because he wants all his students to learn.”

After going to primary school “with a bunch of bilingual friends”, Jacinta thought learning to speak in another language would be “really cool” and later this month she will be putting her top grade language skills to the test when she flies out for a gap year in Germany.

Dubbo School of Distance Education Principal, Deb Murray, is delighted with the distinguished achievements that have paid dividends for Mr Xia’s dedication.

“It’s Frank’s first HSC year,” Ms Murray said.

“He loves teaching German and Japanese and he is really gentle and lovely with the kids and has created a number of really good resources for his students to learn.

“Frank has tailor-made the course and materials to the way students operate by getting to know his students, learning their best learning style and adapting the course so the students can learn to their maximum potential.”

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