A Canning-based educator has been recognized statewide for her commitment to language learning.
Tamil teacher Poornima Mayurathan was named Outstanding Community Language Teacher of the Year 2023 on August 15 by the Office of Multicultural Interests for her work inspiring ‘passion’ for the language.
The Piara Waters resident worked for 10 years as an accountant in Sri Lanka before joining the classrooms of WA.
“My mother is a teacher and the passion for this career was probably in my blood,” she said.
“I successfully graduated from Tamil courses in 2021 and am currently studying for a Bachelor of Education degree from Curtin University.”
Ms Mayurathan teaches at South Tamil School in Lynwood, which has offered language classes since 1980.
She said that since the school started with 10 students, the number of students per class has steadily increased to its current enrollment of 430 students.
“We get more than 400 registered students every year,” she said.
“The school’s goal is to help students acquire fluency in one of the world’s oldest languages, characterized by its deep cultural and traditional significance.”
This award comes less than a week after WA Community Language Schools received a major funding boost from the state government.
Over 50 community language schools received a share of over $700,000 to support over 7,000 students.
34 languages are taught at the non-profit schools, including Arabic, Greek, Kiswahili, Korean, Punjabi and Urdu, and volunteers provide after-hours language instruction throughout the state.
Ms Mayurathan said staff and students are mainly from Tamil-speaking countries such as India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Singapore.
“We have a dedicated management committee that oversees the administrative responsibilities of the organization, supported by 51 qualified teachers who teach and manage the classrooms,” she said.
“I am proud to say that we are all volunteers who have come together in this organization for the love of language and culture.
The South Tamil school teacher said part of her duties was to mentor students in the ATAR level exams in Tamil.
“Over the past four years, we have been intensively coaching students to pass the Tamil exam in grade 12, which helps them improve their ATAR,” she said.
“(We focus) primarily on teaching language and culture in text form, but we train students in various forms of traditional performing arts like dance and theater for different events over the course of the year. ‘year.”
Citizenship and Multicultural Interests Minister Tony Buti said specialist teachers play a vital role in strengthening cultural heritage.
“Our community language teachers play an invaluable role in maintaining the language and acting as mentors to thousands of students,” he said.
“These amazing teachers instill in children a passion for language and culture and in doing so ensure the linguistic diversity of our multicultural society for the future.”