team_lizWhales Yrs 5 & 6
(currently on long service leave)

What is your background?

I was born in the Hunter Valley where my parents had a vineyard. We moved to another vineyard in Victoria when I was seven, and I enjoyed a real country upbringing, competing on my horse, running wild with my dog, exploring the bush and camping. I went away to boarding school in Year 9, which I loved.  After finishing school I went to university in Melbourne for a year but then I deferred and went overseas – and stayed away for ten years! I went back to university in England and got my teaching degree there.

What do you remember best about primary school? 

I loved school, I loved all the subjects and being a part of everything. Playtime I remember was full-on as our playground was huge. It was like a huge adventure. I remember the incinerator smell which signified Friday afternoons and having apple turnovers for lunch orders.

What teaching qualifications do you have?

I have a Bachelor of Education with Honors. I specialised in art and religion.

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

My first teaching job was in an English town called Cirencester where I had 22 boys and 11 girls in my first class! When I returned to Australia I moved to Bendigo in Victoria where I taught Years 3 to 6 in a very forward-thinking primary school called Eaglehawk North Primary. I learned a lot there, gaining a great deal of professional development in thinkers’ skills, and it was there I developed my love of teaching open-ended maths questions. I joined a professional teaching group which focused on maths and thinkers’ skills and we visited many different schools looking at best practice. Later I travelled around Australia and settled here as my sister lived in Lennox. Getting my job at BCPS was a happy day for me. I now live near Pottsville on 12 acres with my future husband, his two kids and my dog.

What are your main teaching and classroom philosophies?

For the kids to become independent learners and to continue their journey of becoming lifelong learners. I want each child to know their strengths and weaknesses by the time they leave BCPS and to have learned to be resilient enough to be successful and happy in high school.

What/why do you enjoy teaching at BCPS? 

I love the ethos of the school, I love that the kids are so enthusiastic. I like the relationships we have with the parents and that we follow the curriculum but do so in a free way, we don’t have the constraints of the state system on us. I love the colleagues I have at the school.

What do you enjoy teaching the most?

There is not one thing I enjoy teaching the most, I enjoy each day for different reasons. I guess that is what I like most – the difference of each day.

What is your greatest achievement?

Getting my degree, running and finishing a 10km race in under an hour.

What aspirations still lie ahead of you?

To teach overseas and travel to lots of different places.

Do you teach any subjects other than your regular class?

I teach the Starfish on Wednesday afternoons.

What occupies your time outside school hours?

I enjoy netball -I play for Bangalow – and I run and swim at the beach. I like being on my property. I would love to spend more time travelling, but that will come.

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