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Making maths fun: it’s all about a growth mindset

An enthusiasm for teaching mathematics has landed early career teacher Linda Le a prestigious scholarship to further her career.

Linda Le in the classroom

Linda Le has received the Public Education Foundation’s Teachers Health Early Career Scholarship.

When Linda Le thinks about what launched her journey to becoming an award-winning mathematics teacher she only needs to look across the staffroom.

Working with her in the maths department staffroom at Elderslie High School is her former teacher, now maths head teacher, Wayne Douglas.

“His belief in me and continual encouragement to achieve my personal best allowed me to develop a real passion for problem-solving,” said Ms Le, who attended Elderslie High School at Narellan.

“Being a student from a low socio-economic background and having a goal to work towards and seeing the opportunities working hard paves for you was a big thing he made me see.”

Mr Douglas’ belief was obviously well-founded as yesterday Ms Le received the inaugural Public Education Foundation’s Teachers Health Early Career Scholarship.

The scholarship, worth $10,000, provides professional development activities for public school teachers who are in the first three years of their teaching careers.

Ms Le, 24, is in her third year of teaching mathematics at Elderslie High School and last year received the Early Career Teacher Award at the Ultimo Directorate Principals Awards for her enthusiasm for teaching and contribution to the school community.

She hopes to use the funding to examine the use of growth mindset practices in teaching mathematics and to see how other communities and countries, such as Finland, engaged students in maths. Her ambition is to continually find ways to make her students share her enthusiasm for mathematics.

“To many students, maths is a dull subject,” Ms Le said. “But I love it, when after a couple of months in my class, they can see the other skills they are learning like problem-solving and they say it isn’t so bad after all.”

She said it was an honour to receive the scholarship and was “absolutely blessed” by the support she received from her colleagues at Elderslie High School.

“This award is such a huge opportunity for me as an early career teacher to grow and enhance my practice,” she said. “I am really looking forward to the opportunities the Teachers Health Scholarship will open for me and the ways I can contribute back to my school community.”

Teachers Health CEO Brad Joyce said Ms Le was a “great asset to the teaching profession, positively shaping lives through her work”.

Public Education Foundation executive director David Hetherington agreed:  “Linda Le is a committed young teacher who is passionate about her subject and building excellent relationships with her students. We are excited to be able to support her with her professional learning goals.”

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