What do you do in your role at Trinity? As Head of the Early and Junior Years, my role involves overseeing a skilled staff of dedicated professionals. From the staff who work with our youngest children of 2.5 years through to our Year 5 students, I am regularly impressed with the level of care and understanding from all who work at Cotlew Street Campus. As it is Trinity’s 35th birthday this year, I am proud to lead the campus where Lutheran education began on the Gold Coast in 1981.
How long have you been teaching? I am afraid to say that I have been teaching almost as long as this school has been established. I began my teaching career in 1983 in Adelaide at a time when the South Australian Government had established the four school Aberfoyle Park campus which consisted of 2 State Schools, 1 Independent School and 1 Catholic School; all with about 200 students in each autonomously run school. We shared an administration block, library, ovals and play areas; highly innovative for that time. Staff from all four schools regularly joined in professional development activities and shared ideas and resources. For a first year out teacher, the richness of dialogue between the sectors was inclusive and very supportive.
Have you always lived and worked in Australia? No, after 3 years teaching in Adelaide, I packed my bags and moved to Nuku’alofa, Tonga to work as an Overseas Volunteer Abroad in a Free Wesleyan secondary school, where I met and married my husband.
Tell us about your experiences of teaching overseas: Working in Tonga for 2 years was certainly a character building experience as I worked with very low achieving students who would stay at school until they acquired their Year 11 certificate at least before graduating. My salary was about $50 a week and I lived in a very basic hut with a teacher from New Zealand who is now a Principal of a State School in South Auckland. The worst part of the hut was not the lack of hot water but the enormous bugs and spiders which would crawl up through drains and regularly had to be dealt with, usually with much squealing and excitement between my housemate and me. We also had pigs living in our back yard which belonged to the local church community and they would regularly bathe and lounge in our open drains and then flick mud all over our clean washing! My friends and I had lots of fun and adventures though. I still look back at this time with much fondness. My husband and I returned to Australia and worked in Darwin for a year and then headed to the Gold Coast where we taught for 14 years before moving to Tokyo, Japan where I held the Head of Primary position at an international school that ran the International Baccalaureate’s PYP (Primary Years Program). This was my first experience with this type of schooling program. With 2 young daughters by then, our free time was taken up traveling about Japan on the trains, buses and peddling about on our bicycles and seeing the sights! After my experiences working in international schools, I am very excited about our strategic focus on globalisation at Trinity. I agree with the idea that our youngest children will work ‘somewhere in the world’ and not necessarily on the Gold Coast – even if they live here. To be tolerant and understanding and, importantly to see the perspective of others in our global community is vital for a peaceful world and I very much enjoy our international community at Cotlew Street campus. I encourage all families to travel and find out what is out there in the world; it is a very exciting place.
Tell us more about yourself; what else can you share with us? In my private life my family is my passion. My husband is a Design Technology teacher and I have 2 daughters. My eldest daughter graduated with a Law/Commerce degree from Bond University in April and will take up a position at Bell Legal. My youngest daughter is at the University of Technology, Sydney where she is studying to be an English/History teacher. Having adult children is terrific fun as it involves enjoying each other’s company more so than all the busyness that is associated with younger children (although I enjoyed those times too!) I look back over the jigsaw of my 33 years in schools and I feel that God has travelled with me to every corner of each school at which I have worked. My faith in Him has guided me in my career. Each school community has helped me highlight and develop skills in pastoral care, curriculum development, and delivery or development of new facilities, and it is in this combined experience that I feel I can now give back to Trinity Lutheran College. It is a joy to celebrate 35 years at TLC this year and I give thanks to the staff and students and their parents who have helped to develop a school of distinction on the Gold Coast.