To her students Robyn Spandonide is “a good teacher”, “kind”, and “supports us”.
She can “make a different approach for each student”, is “empathetic and inclusive” and has “a great sense of humour”.
It’s no wonder then Ms Spandonide has been recognised with the Victorian Learn Local Practitioner Award.
The awards celebrate the achievements of those within the Learn Local network in Victoria, an organisation which offers education programs to help people gain skills and confidence to look for a job or study further.
Education Program Coodinator, Ms Spandonide has worked at the Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services for two and a half years.
She teaches English as an additional language, running community programs based on the needs of communities in Bendigo.
Most of the people Ms Spandonide teaches are from a refugee background, which in Bendigo means many come from Afghanistan, Myanmar and South Sudan.
Ms Spandonide said she sees part of the value her work as helping people to connect to the wider community.
Language means that people can feel that another person understands them.Robyn Spandonide
“While living here in Australia with the dominant language being English, it’s really empowering for people, it creates independence for people,” she said.
“Language means that people can feel that another person understands them.”
Ms Spandonide became a teacher after visiting her aunt and uncle in Fiji aged 16.
Volunteering at a local orphanage she wanted to adopt all the children.
She couldn’t, so she thought the next best thing would be to become a teacher.
Ms Spandonide taught general primary education at schools in Melbourne, South Korea, Hong Kong and Alice Springs.
Adult teaching was something she sort of fell into.
She first began teaching EAL at primary schools, before becoming an adult lecturer in Alice Springs.
Ms Spandonide said she sees it as a privilege to be part of the work of Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services.
“Most people who come through our programs have disrupted learning and haven’t had the same sort of education of course as people born in Victoria,” she said.
“A lot of people see this as a great opportunity and are really optimistic about their learning abilities.”
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