Something rather magical has been happening over at St Joseph’s Primary School library recently and it’s all due to the amazing impact of teaching newcomer Nic Kartsiotis, or ‘Mr K’ for short.
The library, which incorporates Mr K’s classroom, has become an ever-changing landscape of vignettes and displays to excite the young students’ interest in literature, without them even realising.
No so very distant from being a school student himself, Mr K appreciates that many children of that age won’t go in search of a book, but rather pick up the one that catches their eye. For that reason he ensures that books are on constant rotation and well-displayed, so there’s always something new to pick up and read.
Parents are full of praise for the impact Mr K has had on their children, which is summed up neatly by Year 2 student Tom Hickson who attends the school with his sisters Harriet (in Kindergarten) and Daisy (year 2).
“Tom said it’s like Book Week every week,” mum Annabelle reports.
“They’re always talking about the library. At lunchtimes they like to ‘play’ there.
“It’s wonderful how Mr K’s made it very accessible.”
School Advisory Council president Michael Hennessy agreed, saying it provides an option particularly for those pupils not so keen on playing sport during breaks.
While Mr K is certainly a unique individual who has really made a connection with the kids, his time at the school is limited as his six-month contract concludes at the end of term. He is taking a year off from teaching to travel, but would love to return to a rural school if given the opportunity.
“The kids aren’t as arrogant,” he said, “and they appreciate what you do for them, especially in years 5 and 6.”
There’s a lot to appreciate as Mr K puts considerable effort into keeping the displays around the room fresh and relevant.
Believe or not the library has become an exciting place to spend the lunch hour, with science experiments on the agenda. It could be volcanos one day and dinosaur eggs the next.
The kids not only get to enjoy a reading cubby house, but explore how to design and build one.
“Not every kid reads, but you go ‘above and beyond’,” he said.
“I tell them to ‘go for it, change the world’, and that it’s cool to be creative.”
He talks to them about his experiences being on the receiving end of bullying, and other life lessons.
Mr K said he’d highly recommend to other teachers to come to a country school, and there’s always the chance that a future posting for him could be back at St Joseph’s.
They’d be glad to have him.
Watch as Mr K gives us the grand tour...
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