Year 7 is a significant year as girls step up into their senior years of schooling. Our Year 7 coordinator, Mrs Rhiannon Ward is the mentor to all our students in this milestone year.
What do you enjoy most about teaching?
The people; staff and students alike. Firstly, I love working in the collaborative and innovative English department, where we are constantly challenging ourselves and the girls with new and exciting opportunities. The students are also a joy to work with, as they are enthusiastic to learn, curious for knowledge and inquisitive to ask questions and extend their understanding.
One of the components of my role as a year level coordinator that I value most, is the ability to implement new and exciting projects for which the Year 7 students can become involved. Over the course of this year, we have tested our sewing skills on the Quilts for Kids project, where we hand-sew a polar fleece quilts to donate to the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre at the end of the term. We have participated in a number of exciting House competitions, from a rock-paper-scissors challenge, to a basketball shoot out, to an online Kahoot quiz. We spend a lot of time valuing each other as a Year 7 community, and on the whole, I believe that we have a happy, confident and thriving cohort in the Year 7 classrooms this year.
What’s different about teaching at Strathcona?
Strathcona certainly has an ‘feel’ to it; it is a happy place to work and enjoy every day. The unique community spirit and warm-hearted nature of the students is also a point of difference here. Our girls are engaged, studious and want to do the best that they can, in all facets of their lives. We as teachers are fortunate to be a part of the experience of educating girls, and it is a privilege to be able to nurture and inspire them to become the strongest and best women that they can be, once they leave our gates at the completion of Year 12.
What inspired you to become a teacher?
I was raised by a very strong, determined, ambitious and passionate mother, who was also a secondary school English teacher. I spent my teens determined to be everything other than my mother, but alas, genetics won in the end! My father was also a secondary school teacher, before he became an academic with Monash University for the majority of his career. In short, I actually think my parents, and particularly my mother, inspired me. In fact, my own little daughter who attends the Strathcona ELC has started saying that she wants to be a teacher when she grows up too! Time will tell on this front, I suppose.
What inspires you now in teaching?
Knowing that we actively make a difference, every day, as teachers, is inspiration in itself. No matter how mundane a conversation or interaction might be at the time, we can have lasting effects on the young people with whom we work. We are such valuable role models to our students, and as such cannot lose sight of the passion and enthusiasm that we must bring to our classrooms daily.
The other element that inspires me, is the ever-changing nature of education and all that it entails. Never before have we as educators had more opportunities to extend our skills, develop our vocation and try new things when it comes to the business of teaching and learning. I feel inspired daily by the challenges that await.
Do you have a highlight from your time at Strathcona?
Where to begin! I think our most recent Twilight Tours in March were a particular highlight for me. Not only was I able to practice something that I love; teaching English to a Middle School classroom, but my own family was also here to enjoy the festivities. It reminded me that teaching is such a community sport and that we all have our part to play.
What do you enjoy doing outside the classroom?
Life! I am a mum to two small children, aged five and three, so the weekends are usually full of birthday parties, ballet lessons, soccer classes and general activity. I am a passionate educator, and so I feel that teaching my own children is also paramount in what I do; however incidental the interaction might seem when we are embedded in the daily routines of term time.
What advice would you give students?
To strive to achieve, and to do the best that you can, in all that you do. Life is here for the taking, and it is up to you to challenge yourselves, take on board opportunities, and see where they may lead you.