Meet your new Vice-President!
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 126 No 2, 12 March 2021, page no. 10
The day I went to pre-school was the day I came home from school and said: “I’m going to be a teacher”.
As teachers, we are often asked why we do what we do. I do not know why. There are no teachers in my family, but as a four-year old, something on that day did it for me. Maybe a calling, perhaps? It is all I have ever wanted to do.
I was born in Rockhampton on Darumbal country, where I spent the next 20 years of my life. I attended Crescent Lagoon State School in West Rockhampton, where I was enabled to learn and grow through rich learning experiences, taught by committed and great teachers. I learnt to play the trumpet through the instrumental music program, sang in the choir and competed in Friday afternoon inter-school sport, playing representative netball and softball for Capricornia. I have very fond memories of primary school. These experiences strengthened my decision even more. School had become ingrained in me. I wanted to give kids the same things I had received.
This continued throughout my high school and university years. Upon completing my degree at CQU in Rockhampton, I began my teaching career at Rosedale P-12 Campus as an itinerant primary music specialist. My week consisted of travelling, with the PE teacher, 500 kms to six schools a week. I was finally here. I was doing what I had always wanted to do.
I transferred to Logan and continued as music specialist for the next seven years. It was a little different this time, being at only one school, but it meant I could spend some time coaching a netball team. Then onto Redlands, where I first became a Union Representative. This is where my activism started to grow; branch meetings, Area Council, State Council, Women’s Committee, and then election to Executive.
In 2014, my family and I embarked on a “sea change”, and off to Cairns we went. New town, new job. I became a classroom teacher. As with many regional centres, different challenges can present themselves. The importance of being an active Union member was even more obvious. However, with challenges come opportunities; to act in different positions, to embrace different perspectives and cultures, to advocate, to campaign.
After a few years in the classroom, I became a student engagement teacher. This is where my interest in and dedication to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education began, while I also continued working with and supporting members, talking to politicians and fighting the good fight for public education. Then my life took yet another change in direction, and back to Brisbane I went.
People now ask me what made me nominate to become the Vice-President of the Queensland Teachers’ Union. As a teacher and unionist of 23 years, the answer comes easily: to ensure that teachers and school leaders receive the recognition, renumeration and respect they deserve, so they can build a better future.
Next time you are asked what made you become a teacher, have a think about why you did.