haven’s favourite teacher competition has come to an end, but our celebration of teachers is only just beginning…

After weeks of reading through heart felt and touching tributes to local teachers, the team at haven magazine is excited to announce the finalists and winner of our inaugural haven’s favourite teacher competition. We were blown away by the nominations – it was wonderful to see how grateful parents and kids alike can be for the hard work that their teachers put in.

So, drumroll please… The winner of haven’s favourite teacher competition is: Ben Rankin of Varsity College at Varsity Lakes! Ben’s win sees him taking a much-needed weekend away at the ULTIQA Resort of his choice – a prize valued at $610. Ben’s nomination read: “Ben celebrates every student every day with a high five at the door. He dresses up, makes learning fun and cares 24/7 about his students.”

National parenting blogger “School Mum” Sam Jockel helped the haven team decide its winner and was especially tickled by Ben’s nomination.

“I love that Ben makes every student, every day start their day with some positive vibes when entering the class,” Sam says. “He doesn’t have to do that but he does – what a legend!

“Thanks Ben and thanks to all the other teachers out there who go above and beyond for our kids making sure they start the day well and giving them the support and encouragement they need to be the best they can be. You matter and your efforts and work matter,” she says.

When talking with haven magazine about the competition win and his role of being a teacher, Ben emphasized the importance of engaging every kid in the learning.

“It’s not the books, computers, pretty posters or laminated sheets that create a good learning environment,” Ben says. “It’s getting the kids interested in learning. If you can engage them, you’ve got them.”

While there are always varying levels of engagement, Ben finds he can relate to the kids pretty easily, which he says helps with engagement. haven sat down with Ben to hear more about him and his approach to teaching:

What grade do you teach and how long have you been teaching?
I’m currently teaching Year 4. I’ve been teaching for seven years and have also taught Year 2.

Why did you decide to become a teacher?
I like helping kids. Prior to being a teacher I was a gymnastics coach and a chef. I was working as a Scout leader and enjoyed that so I decided to become a primary school teacher.

What do you love about being a teacher?
For me it’s knowing that I’m doing good, helping the kids and really teaching them to be independent and to be problem solvers. It’s great to help them to learn to think for themselves.

What’s the biggest challenge about being a teacher?
The biggest challenge would be keeping the kids interested and achieving.

What do you do to ensure you have work/life balance?
I try and make time on the weekends for family and I suppose limit the amount of ‘take home’ work as much as possible.

Do you have any advice for new teachers?
Don’t over do it. Keep the balance as best as possible. It’s not all about resources – if you think about it, in India, they can teach kids under a tree. It’s all about the delivery of the teaching.



We wanted to share with you some of the amazing nominations we received to come up with our five competition finalists. While these teachers didn’t take out the win, they are all winners in our eyes. The people who nominated these four teachers and our winner Ben will each receive a $100 Ironlak Art & Design gift voucher to use on some very cool art supplies.

Carla Stanley, Emmanuel College
“Mrs Stanley is a blessing. She uses every lesson to create a classroom of fun and she caters to everyone no matter their ability. She’s teaching nobility.”

Jodie Cherry, Junction Park State School
Jodie gave my daughter confidence. She’s caring and passionate about her work. She is still a sounding board although my daughter has left her class.”

Peta Loring, Elanora Primary Schol
She has been a wonderful teacher to both my kids, has six kids of her own and handles everything with grace and great humour!”

Lisa Ritchie, Eagle Junction State School
Ms Ritchie is the best teacher for me because she sees the best in every student and makes them feel special for being unique.”



haven is all about family, life and style in Brisbane's inner city suburbs, the Gold Coast, south to Byron Bay. We have been keeping parents in the know for over eight years, with fun, fresh and helpful stories that they can take tips from or treasure in their own library.