A Katherine teacher has been shortlisted for the NRL Teacher of the Year award.
Katherine South Primary School teacher, Tim East, was selected by his local NRL Game Development Officer for the work he does bringing lessons from rugby league into his classrooms.
He also runs a rugby league academy for boys and girls in years three to six, growing participation by more than double in just over two years.
He doesn’t do it for the accolades, however, he does it for the kids, he said.
“It is great to be acknowledged by the NRL, it is good to see them celebrating people on the ground and not just proffessionals,” Mr East said.
“It is just great to see how far the kids have come, to see a real jump in participation and engagement.”
Using the game to drive lessons of responsibility, respect, excellence and integrity, the students work hard to have the opportunity to participate in both interstate and overseas trips.
“We try to simulate what they do in the professionals,” Mr East said.
“The kids sign a contract to get them attending school, participate in school activities and follow the school care agreement.
“They can’t attend trips if they are not meeting the agreement, so we see these kids working really hard and getting involved.
“The biggest improvement is in kids who don’t usually participate in sports,” he said.
Through the young teacher’s strong partnership with the Parramatta Eels, his students get a rare glimpse at the professional side of sport.
From meeting top athletes to playing in NT squads, the doors are wide open.
NRL head of government and community relations Jaymes Boland-Rudder said the community awards for NRL is an opportunity to celebrate the success at the grassroots level.
“When thinking about NRL success most people’s minds jump to elite athletes, but this is our opportunity to celebrate everyday heroes,” Mr Boland-Rudder said.
“Early engagement with young Australians is often fostered from our teachers.
“In Katherine in particular it is great to see the work these teachers have done and celebrate their contributions,” he said.