Director of International Studies (Head of Languages) Brisbane Girls Grammar School
My interest in Languages was sparked by passionate teachers of German and Japanese in high school. Learning these languages opened my mind to the ideas of travelling, learning about culture and exchanging ideas with those from other lands. After winning a two month scholarship to Germany at the end of Year 11, my ideas were brought to life. I was immersed in the German language and culture with a wonderful host family and surrounded by new friends, living as a local and attending school. It changed my life and those exciting changes have continued ever since.
Life and career goals started to become even clearer. The University of Queensland was the obvious choice for me to study a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Education dual degree, majoring in German and History. UQ was my high status institution of choice, as it offered excellent language and education programs. I met inspiring lecturers and tutors at UQ, who shared their experiences, their talents and provided engaging tuition. They encouraged students to reach their potential, grounded in both theory and practice.
My qualifications from UQ were subsequently recognized when I entered the job market. To my surprise, I received a job offer before my graduation ceremony and started work as a high school teacher in Term 4 of that year. I then received a full time, permanent job in the state sector. I learnt such a great deal in the first few years of my teaching career, ever strengthened by what I had learnt during my studies, as well as by the mentors around me. I moved to the private sector for a couple of years and returned to the state system for another three years at a new and exciting New Basics School. Here I had the opportunity to plan and run languages courses within a fully integrated curriculum model. At the same time, I joined a Languages Syllabus Writing Committee for the then QSA (QCAA) and networked with a range of language teachers from across the South East. These diverse experiences in teaching practice and curriculum writing, as well as my interest in education, prepared me to return to UQ to engage in further study.
My Masters of Educational Studies at UQ was one of the highlights over the course of my career. I was blessed to have the most amazing lecturers, who brought their passion and experience to the diverse group of educators in the room. In addition, I learnt from the intense and interesting discussions that took place amongst the students. I learnt to write, to develop my opinions and engage in stimulating research projects. Some of these projects involved me interviewing teachers and deputies in schools about their initiatives, implementation of curriculum and transformational leadership practices. This course of further study led me to work as a tutor in the Education Faculty at Griffith University for 6 years. My role was primarily teaching pre-service students in the area of differentiation.
A stint at Brisbane Grammar School enabled me to be involved in teaching German and inspiring students to travel to Germany on exchange, as the school had a well-established program. I was fortunate to travel with students to Germany on three occasions. However, the call for another educational challenge led me to apply for and attain my current role as Director of International Studies at Brisbane Girls Grammar School.
The responsibilities in this new role include teaching German, organizing and travelling on overseas exchanges with students, curriculum development and monitoring of assessment, as well as staff management of one of the largest language faculties in Queensland. It is an extremely satisfying job as it brings all of my experiences together, and challenges me to develop a new skill set in management. The overarching goal of the Faculty is to develop and maintain a professional learning community dedicated to excellent outcomes in the teaching and learning of languages. This goal is so very similar to the experience that was modelled to me as a student at UQ in my very early days. My interest in educational work and languages has never diminished.
I encourage other UQ Languages students to consider a career as a language teacher. It is an exciting job offering a diverse range of opportunities to teach, to travel and to continue to learn with and from others.