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Fostering a compassionate classroom

Student with laptop in library

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Cloe Jager
Published
13 March 2024

For education student Blake, incorporating acceptance and empathy into the classroom just adds up. As a mental health advocate, he wants students to feel safe at school.

From a young age, Blake had felt drawn to teaching. After testing out a few different career paths, he decided education was where he felt he could make a difference.

“I’ve always wanted to help people, especially children,” Blake said. “When I was in school I had always been an anxious kid and someone who needed assistance but didn’t want to put my hand up and ask for it. So, I want to become a teacher to make an environment that I wish I was in as a child – somewhere that’s supportive and positive.”

That supportive environment was something that Blake experienced personally in a high school science class.

“I had a science teacher that was really passionate and I got great marks throughout the year. She wanted to help every student in her class. The next year I had a different teacher and there was no care factor. And because of that, a lot of students’ grades fell dramatically,” Blake said.

“I really think it starts with the teacher and how passionate they are and how much they care about their students.”

“I want to become a teacher to make an environment that I wish I was in as a child – somewhere that’s supportive and positive.”

Male student facing camera

Blake is now incorporating that passion into the classroom during his placement experiences.

“I remember I was teaching a Year 1 class and we were going over number patterns. There was one student in particular who reminded me of myself when I was his age,” he said.

“He just couldn’t grasp what we were doing and the more we kept doing it, the more I realised I was being repetitive with my teaching technique and needed to switch it up. I showed him how I understood it best and it clicked straight away.

“I think teaching is about setting the foundation and then adapting as you go because each student is different.”

For Blake, being a good teacher is not just about education but creating a safe learning environment.

“I want to build an environment for students to feel safe and comfortable to come to school. Even if a student is having a bad day, that doesn’t mean they need to miss school. They may need a break or to have a reset outside but I want to make sure my classroom is as safe and comfortable as possible. Especially because sometimes home life isn’t like that for some kids,” Blake said.

Blake is a mental health advocate in and outside the classroom, demonstrated through his participation in the 2024 Laps for Life, a swimming challenge raising money for youth mental health service ReachOut.

“It’s bringing awareness for youth mental health which is something that needs to be spoken about year-round,” Blake said.

“I think it would be good for it to be talked about more in schools.”

Learn more about studying education.

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