team_annieDolphin/Seahorse Team Teacher

What is your background?

I am one of five children. When I was ten, my family moved from the UK after my father, a customs officer, got a job with the Australian Federal Police. Initially we settled on the Central Coast but later moved to Lennox Head in 1997.  I live with my husband Rob, also a teacher, and our ten-year-old daughter Arabella, right next door to my sister and her family!

What do you remember best about primary school?

I remember the many opportunities to play outside, play sport and have amazing adventures after school.

What teaching qualifications do you have?

I gained my Diploma of Teaching at the Catholic College of Education in North Sydney in 1989, majoring in dance and Aboriginal studies. I then completed my Bachelor of Education at Newcastle University in 1993. For three years, from 2005 to 2007, I taught in the UK including two years at a lovely 100-year-old school in Hemel Hempstead.

Where else have you worked and how has it shaped your general outlook and your approach to teaching children today?

I have worked in a variety of places. I was a youth worker and recreation officer at a boys’ juvenile justice centre for three years. I worked at a US summer camp and on cruise ships. I spent 13 years as an outdoor education and recreation officer with the NSW Department of Sport and Recreation, teaching activities ranging from archery and kayaking to orienteering and overnight camps. I have taught in a number of schools on the north coast including five years at Empire Vale.

What are your main teaching and classroom philosophies?

I try to use positive reinforcement and flexibility and to have a personal interest in every child. I aim to provide a safe and secure place for kids to learn. I believe in treating children on an individual basis, recognising the most effective strategies for the development of their learning at an appropriate ability level and interest

What/why do you enjoy teaching at BCPS?

Like all of us, I love the family community atmosphere and the dedication and commitment from everyone. I enjoy the individualism of each child and their creative, independent ideas. I feel grateful to be a member of such a supportive and forward-thinking staff.

What do you enjoy teaching the most?

My two favourite areas of teaching are writing and sport. I have played a multitude of sports all my life and, coming from the UK, I appreciate the wonderful opportunities to be involved in physical activity that Australian life offers. Playing sport can be a vehicle for many positive developments for children, including self-esteem, teamwork, goal-setting, achievement and discovering abilities. I also write and have had two pieces published – a poem and a personal relection piece in an anthology of short stories – both in 2001. I find writing therapeutic and I love reading the students’ amazing stories. Watching their imagination unfold in words is exciting and satisfying.

What is your greatest achievement?

My daughter Arabella, my selection in the NSW Women’s Soccer team when I was 21 and completing three half-marathons.

What aspirations still lie ahead of you?

I want to continue to learn and gain experience in catering for a variety of learning abilities within a class. I love physical challenges too, and would love to do another half-marathon and the Tough Mudder obstacle course.

Do you teach any subjects other than your regular class?

I teach dance to the whole school.

What occupies your time outside school hours?

My family and sport. My husband plays first grade rugby for the Lennox Trojans and my daughter and I both play netball. I also take part in enticer triathlons, fun runs and walks.

If you weren’t a primary teacher, how do you think you’d be spending your days?

I enjoy travelling and I would like to circumnavigate Australia. I would like to complete treks in various parts of the world and complete my book – part memoir, part family history – for which I have received positive feedback from mentors at the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival.