Linda Le’s passion for teaching mathematics has earned her a $10,000 scholarship.
The Elderslie High School teacher was awarded the inaugural Teachers Health Early Career Scholarship this week.
Ms Le has been teaching for just three years, but she said she couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
“You can’t beat the feeling of inspiring a kid or seeing a kid walk out of the classroom at the end of the year not hating maths as much as they used to,” she said.
“I know some kids really struggle with maths but all I want them to do is come in here and try their best.”
The 24-year-old Bradbury resident grew up in Campbelltown but went to high school at Elderslie.
“This is my school, I learnt maths just a couple of doors down from my classroom,” she said.
“I was an out-of-area kid so I caught two buses to get to school.”
Ms Le’s maths teacher Wayne Douglas is now the head maths teacher at the school.
She said without his guidance she would not have considered a career in teaching.
“When I was at high school he noticed that I would go and help my peers so he sat me down one day and told me that I should be a teacher,” Ms Le said.
“It wasn’t an avenue I had ever considered – I wanted to be an optometrist.
“He really encouraged me and said I would be really great at teaching because I had a way of explaining stuff to my peers.
“So I started looking into it and here I am.”
Ms Le plans to use her scholarship money to learn more about schooling overseas.
“I want to see how maths is taught in other countries,” she said.
“As an educator you hear about Finland being the number one education system in the world so it would be great to go and see how they teach and maybe bring some skills back here.”
For Ms Le, mathematics is a metaphor for every day life.
“When you’re faced with a challenge you just have to push through,” she said.
“It’s logical, there is only one answer but I like that for the one problem there are heaps of ways to solve it.
“I like seeing kids switch that part of their brain on and try to solve the problem.”
Ms Le urged other people considering a career in teaching to ‘go for it’.
“I can’t describe the fulfilling sensation you get in your heart and your soul,” she said.
“If you want a profession that really makes a difference then teaching is the right path to go down.”