Meet Karla Hayhoe - Primary and Highly Accomplished and Lead Teacher… | Coomera Anglican College

Meet Karla Hayhoe - Primary and Highly Accomplished and Lead Teacher (H.A.L.T)

Meet Karla Hayhoe, an accomplished Primary Teacher at Coomera Anglican College with a wealth of experience in the field of education. With eight years of service at the College, Karla has become an integral and valued member of our teaching staff.

In addition to her teaching credentials, Karla is a certified Highly Accomplished and Lead Teacher (H.A.L.T), which signifies her commitment to excellence in teaching and her leadership qualities. As a H.A.L.T certified teacher, Karla is dedicated to improving student outcomes and impacting the practice of her colleagues.

Originally from Bundaberg, Karla has been an educator for 19 years and has primarily worked in Anglican Schools. She is a proud mother of three children, with her youngest daughter set to graduate from Coomera Anglican College this year. She is also a loving grandmother to a 17-month-old grandson.

In her spare time, Karla loves to travel and is often found organising exciting events for her family and friends. With her passion for teaching and commitment to excellence, Karla is an inspiration to both her students and colleagues alike.

We took the opportunity to ask Karla a few questions about her experience as an educator and some of the key defining moments that have helped shape her career:

What inspired you to pursue a career in education, and what motivates you to continue teaching and working with students?

I have always wanted to be a teacher. I started working as a legal secretary but eventually my desire to teach children was just too strong and I decided to follow my dreams. I love learning so am always looking forward to gaining new skills and ways of working to help all children reach their goals. It is a very challenging career but is very rewarding when you see student’s growth and their love of learning flourish. I have a passion for early childhood and was lucky enough to attend an international study tour to Italy to see the Reggio Emilia approach. It was definitely a highlight in my career. 

How do you approach curriculum design and lesson planning, and what strategies do you use to engage and challenge your students?

The curriculum has changed several times since I began teaching. I have been very fortunate to have been able to attend a huge variety of professional development opportunities over the years to enable me to try new ways of teaching the curriculum. As schools change their programs, it is important to be trained in new programs to ensure students gain the knowledge and skills you are teaching. I love opportunities to develop creative programs that allow children time to learn. It is very important to me to differentiate my program and to ensure students know their goals. I always find students gain confidence when they reach their goals and are excited to set new ones!

Can you describe a particularly successful project or assignment that you've led in your role as a Highly Accomplished and Lead Teacher, and how did you approach the planning and execution of this initiative?

I decided to apply for HALT when our College changed to decodable readers. It was great having the opportunity to work with a variety of staff and helping them gain skills in various areas as we compiled a literacy program to support our new readers. It was a great opportunity to be creative and design a range of resources for tricky words, sound knowledge and fluency development. I also work as part of a team to develop our College Reconciliation Action Plan. Another exciting opportunity I have is to assist with organising our Under 8’s Day celebrations each year.

How do you work with colleagues and other educators to share best practices and promote ongoing professional development in your school or community?

Our College has many working parties where staff have the opportunity to complete training and share best practices with others in their chosen team. I have also had the opportunity to be part of the LEAP program and be a team leader so I could encourage my team to share their experiences and knowledge they have. It has been really exciting learning ideas from other schools around Australia.  I had opportunities to provide presentations to staff and parents for the HALT process several years ago.  Another project I have recently been working on is completing training as a Profiler for microskills to help student teachers and staff reflect on their behaviour management strategies to foster a positive classroom culture. I am looking forward to putting my training into practice!

What advice would you give to aspiring teachers who are just starting their careers, and what qualities do you believe are essential for success in this field?

Children learn in different ways – some need visual, verbal or hands-on experiences to learn a new concept. Children learn best when they have a great relationship with their teacher, so it is important to develop a positive and supportive classroom culture. I really enjoy having student teachers in my classroom and always encourage them to collect as many ideas as they can while studying as it is the perfect time to learn new skills from so many different educators. Organisation is key! I really encourage student teachers to ensure they are prepared and have a strong understanding of the key learning area they are targeting.

You really need to love teaching. It is a very demanding career, so you need to ensure you know your students really well and provide opportunities for them to learn through a multisensory approach.