Walking into Lorraine Breingan’s Prep classroom, you feel an immediate feeling of warmth, joy and curiosity. Her students immediately smile at her, say hello, and beam with pride as they show her what they are working on.

Having worked in education for 26 years (as of 2023), the Springfield Anglican College teacher has impacted students and their families across the region. So much so that she was voted Ipswich and Springfield’s best teacher (The Queensland Times).

Ms Breingan began working as a Prep teacher six years ago after training and working as a high school teacher for 15 years. “I just fell in love with it. I discovered working with little people was so fun and really rewarding because you get to see them learn to read and learn to write. They come to you without being able to do those things. The world opens up to them when they can read.”

A mum of two herself, Ms Breingan said she understands that teaching comes with a huge responsibility. “The trust that the parents put in you, it’s pretty huge. It’s my job to keep them safe and happy, and not just learning. You’re taking care of all their emotional needs as well. I take that pretty seriously. It’s a privilege for me to do that.”

Prep, being a pivotal and formative time in all students’ lives, is an opportunity to impart important life lessons. In her class, students are currently learning about mistakes and how they can be helpful to their development. They are also learning how to ‘fill each other’s buckets’, be kind, thoughtful, and aware of their peers’ needs.

Ms Breingan said her favourite part of being a teacher was the relationships she has formed with the kids in her classes. They keep me young. They are so gracious and forgiving. It teaches me to be a better person.”