Education graduate Yasmin Atwani didn’t speak a word of English when she started school, but went on to attain an OP1 and win a scholarship to Griffith to pursue her dream of becoming a teacher.
Yasmin recently won the Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation (ACHPER) Queensland Pre-Service Teacher Award for 2020.
The award recognises the best and brightest teachers of tomorrow.
“It’s nice to end my degree on such a high,” she said.
“The award is a real honour – they choose one pre-service HPE teacher in Queensland who has done well in their prac placements and undertaken a range of extra-curricular activities that promote health and wellbeing.”
Despite juggling her studies and a series of intensive practical placements, Yasmin still found time to give back.
Amid COVID lockdowns, she was the face of Griffith University’s Wellness and Leadership Initiative, creating weekly mental health and wellness videos for students.
Yasmin also volunteered with the GUMURRII Unit, mentoring Indigenous Education students who returned to remote areas of Queensland during campus closures.
She is about to have her first academic paper published, co-authoring a research paper on the use of technology in physical education with her mentor at Griffith, Education lecturer Dr Ben Williams.
“I just feel so lucky to have had so many different opportunities during my time at Griffith,” Yasmin said.
The Honours College student has just graduated from the Bachelor of Education (Secondary) and landed her first job. The freshly minted teacher will kick off her career at Mt Gravatt State High School next year.
“I was inspired to become a teacher after experiencing the transformative power of education throughout my own schooling,” she said.
“Having entered school not knowing a word of English to completing Year 12 with an OP 1, I was so grateful to all the incredible teachers who believed in me.
“In my classroom I want to inspire my students to challenge the limits.
“As my Year Two teacher once told me, “Where you start doesn’t have to decide where you finish”. Those words have stuck with me…that is the power of education.”
Yasmin chose Griffith because of its reputation as a global leader in education and the hands-on opportunities offered during the degree.
“Griffith has an immersive, real-world focus and it also offers opportunities to grow beyond the degree through programs like the Griffith Honours College,” she said.
“The greatest highlight is walking away after four years with a passion for teaching that has only grown each year.
“I’m leaving with a degree, but also a network of colleagues and mentors that will continue to shape my identity for years to come.”
Yasmin’s mentor at Griffith University Dr Ben Williams said Yasmin was destined for a bright future as an educator.
“Yasmin is always curious, she genuinely has a passion for learning and wants to give back,” he said.
“She’s going to be an incredible asset to any school she joins.
“For her, it’s not just about doing the job, it’s about how to do it better.
“I can’t wait to see the contribution Yasmin makes to the profession.”