St Mary's Catholic College prep teacher Mrs McCarthy with some of her prep students.
St Mary's Catholic College prep teacher Mrs McCarthy with some of her prep students.

FIRST PLACE: South Burnett’s Best Teacher as voted by you

TODAY is National Teachers Day and to commemorate we did a call out on our Facebook page and were overwhelmed by the heartwarming responses from South Burnett locals.

Teachers are an important part of any community and play a vital role in shaping the lives of our younger generation.

National Teacher Day is as good a time as any to show our gratitude and appreciation for our local teachers.

South Burnett Times readers praised our teachers for their kindness, understanding, patience, and gentle ways with their students.

In first place and winning the official title for Best Teacher in the South Burnett was Mrs Sarah McCarthy from St Mary's Catholic College in Kingaroy.

She was nominated by Scott Collier who said:

"She is one of the most genuine, kind hearted and highly competent teachers I know. "Everyday is a privilege knowing our daughter is in the hands of one of South Burnett's finest teachers."

Mrs McCarthy has been teaching for nearly 20 years, and has been at St Mary's for 10 years.

"I've just always wanted to be a teacher. Ever since I was in primary school," she said.

"I just loved learning and I loved that someone took the time to teach me things and I wanted to do that too.

"I knew it was a job where I would be able to tap into my empathy and kindness. Which is something I really value and wanted to bring to the table every day at work."

Mrs McCarthy said for her, teaching was about the children.

"I just really love them," she said.

"I love how much they all love learning and how interested they are in wanting to know more about the world around them.

"I especially love teaching here at St Mary's. It's just such a beautiful community and I feel so welcomed by all of the staff and parents."

Mrs McCarthy specialises in early year education, and is currently the prep teacher.

"I've been working just in early years education for a while now. Probably for the past 10 years," she said.

"I'm so passionate about it because those early years are so important. It's a time of learning that really sets them up for the rest of their lives.

"My biggest focus is to try and make learning play-based. I want to make it really fun for them so they don't see it as a chore.

"I want them to love learning and to be excited every day about all of the possibilities ahead of them."

Despite it being her job, Mrs McCarthy said it's a lot of fun too.

"The kids really just make my day every day," she said.

"They're so eager to impress you and to learn.

"And we just have so much fun together in the classroom.

"We do lots of singing, dancing, and creating, with music, and games. All while learning."

Mrs McCarthy said she was surprised to be crowned South Burnett's Best Teacher, but that she felt very loved and supported.

"It does mean a lot to me and it's lovely to know the community is happy with what I'm doing," she said.

"I think as a teacher it's really important to just be patient and kind with your students.

"And to show empathy and be understanding. They're all special individuals and they will all bloom in their own way at different times."

Head of Primary at St Mary's, Pam Radcliffe, said there was no one more deserving of this title than Mrs McCarthy.

"What has made her so extra special at what she does is her passion," she said.

"It's also her passion for delivering the curriculum in a fun way that the kids can really engage with.

"The kids don't even realise they're learning because they're having so much fun. She also has amazing communication with the parents and other staff."

Racheal Collier and Lesley Pates both send their children to St Mary's, and Mrs McCarthy teaches them in her prep class.

"It's her presence and all the little extra touches and how she goes out of her way for the kids," Mrs Collier said.

"All of the parents love how involved and transparent she is with her teaching.

"The kids always come home telling us how much fun they had with Mrs McCarthy."

Mrs Pates said she was also very approachable and had great communication with the parents.

"If you have a question or concern you can always go to her," she said.

"Nothing is a bother or too small of a problem.

"She just always has time for anyone.

"I asked my daughter why she loved Mrs McCarthy and she said that Mrs McCarthy is really funny and she loves going to school to see her."