Peter Botsman Award 1998

Pam Brennan

Pam Brennan needs no introduction to most of you, I’m sure. This year she has taken up a new position at the Board of Senior Secondary School Studies as a Curriculum Officer. However, it is in her previous role as Review Officer, English, that so many of us have become acquainted with her.  Her depth of knowledge of the 1987 syllabus and her interpretation of board policy, have served to reassure and direct many a nervous first year teacher, or novice subject master from the bush.

In the city, her influence has been even more widespread, with visits to high schools, the delivery of papers and workshops for ETAQ and talks to pre-service teachers at our universities.

Pam’s teaching career in Queensland began in 1968 at Mount Morgan SHS where she stayed for eight years, the last two as the inaugural subject master of English. Her penchant for trailblazing as the first subject master in schools was extended with stints at Yeppoon State High School and Capalaba State High, up until 1984 when she was whisked away by the Department of Education to present the English component of the Primary to Secondary Conversion Course.

Next, the Board of Senior Secondary School Studies got their clutches into her and they have been most reluctant to let her go. She travelled the state as part of an in-service team who spread the word on the nature of syllabuses, criteria-based assessment, board policy and on the development of work programs, both junior and senior.

Such a career as I’ve already detailed stands alone on its merits, but for us today it is her contribution to and through ETAQ which especially draws our respect. She has been a continuing member of ETAQ since 1969.

Her contribution as a member of the Management Committee began in 1981 and her active participation on the Executive and Management Committee continued until our AGM earlier this year when she stepped down.

She has held every major position on the committee (with the possible exception of treasurer – and, observing her taste in jewellery this may be a good thing for the association) and has been ever ready to step into the breach, when the occasion arises. Pam has provided the scaffolding to allow others to develop in roes and has then quietly stepped back – surely one of the most important skills of any good teacher.

Pam has held key positions with both our flagships – Inservice, from which we are all benefiting today and Publications, our chance for us all to stay in touch with each other. She has convened state conferences and edited Words’Worth.

In recent years, she has also had a key role as Branch Liaison officer, fostering ETAQ interest throughout the state.

Advocacy is something that Pam values and she has taken every opportunity to press home the importance of having a knowledgeable body of professionals to teach our students. She has represented us the members of The English Teachers Association of Queensland Inc, as our delegate to AATE meetings, defending ‘Queensland’ interests when required and contributing to national positions at other times.

Pam Brennan was the ETAQ nominee to the English Subject Advisory Committee of the Board in 1985-86 after which time she became a staff member at the Board. She continued her contribution to syllabus writing through her involvement as Review Officer. Pam was able to bring a broad perspective to committee discussions, based on her extensive contact with teachers at the chalkface.

Just as Pam enjoyed taking up the challenge of shaping the English learning and teaching as the inaugural subject master in not one, but three, high schools, we take pleasure in recognising her far reaching achievements beyond the classroom in this inaugural Peter Botsman Award.

Congratulations, Pam.

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