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the “teacher” part…

January 13, 2015


The Brighton Music Department 2013. Height proportions are accurate. June 2013.

I was never supposed to be a teacher.

I was on my way to being the resident family doctor, or lawyer, or accountant, pride of my Chinese-Australan family, walking the steps into the First Generation + First Educated Female Hall of Fame.

I got a ridiculously good ATAR. They were called TERs at the time; but a stupidly good one…99.25! Pots of tea were brewed, relatives far and wide were called, live chickens and fresh mandarins were brought to my family’s house in celebration + Telstra made a KILLING…

And then I chose a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance.

And there is so much more I’ll tell you about this choice, but suffice to say, the chicken lived and the mandarins were untouched for a week.

But now, many years later, my parents are happy. They are even talking to me again. 😉

They are proud of the teacher and person I am, and they see the power + value of the work that I do.

Teaching has always somehow been infused in my blood, but I didn’t recognise it as a possible career until I was in my second year of university, when I started working with Rosemary Nairn at the Public Primary Schools Music Festival. She taught with a pure joy which simply infiltrated my soul, to the point where I thought, I want to be a teacher. I want to affect that sort of change. I want to create that synergy between joy + learning!

I finished my performance degree and took a U-turn into a Graduate Bachelor of Secondary Education, all the time working as an accompanist and trainer at the Festival of Music. It was fabulous! I’d walk across the stage of the Festival Theatre and play for a concert series in the evening, and then rock up to uni the next morning, bursting with observations, experiences and a thirst + love of teaching that could only come from being on the job.

And now, in my 12th year of secondary school teaching, I realise that there were many milestones which led to my becoming a teacher, and several very special + treasured teachers who went the extra mile to help me on my path in ways that my parents couldn’t, due to language, education + social differences. These teachers somehow sensed that I needed that extra kick in the right direction, or piano lessons, or someone to check my essays because my parents couldn’t do these things for me. They took on the quasi-parent role I absolutely longed for, but didn’t know I needed.

To every single one of these teachers, I am eternally grateful.

YOU are the reason I am the teacher I am today. YOU are the reason I make the choices I make, go the extra mile, have the version of perception that I do, and love my work.

YOU were the beginning point.

Thank you. I owe you each a live chicken.

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