Meet the Teacher (2023 series)

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Sarah Van Gemeren Kristine Pardillo Justin Delaney
Relationships build good schools

Sarah Van Gemeren from Mother of God School, Ardeer, became a school teacher after a previous career in early childhood education.
The connections you make

Kristine Pardillo from St Lawrence Catholic Primary School, Derrimut, knew she wanted to be a teacher from an early age. 
Following in their footsteps

With both his parents being teachers, Justin Delaney from St Patrick’s School, Geelong West, was likely to follow in their footsteps.
John Cassar Molly Greely Alysha McLean
Bringing business to the classroom

Business Management teacher John Cassar from Kolbe Catholic College, Greenvale Lakes, brings a wealth of business experience into the classroom.
You know in your heart

Molly Greely, from Christ Our Holy Redeemer School, Oakleigh East, became a teacher despite pressure to go down other career paths.
Unpacking the core values

Alysha McLean, from Mary Queen of Heaven Primary School, Greenvale, worked in retail before deciding to become a teacher. 
Amy Koprek Rita McEwen Liam Benton
Knowing your place in the world

Amy Koprek, a second-year teacher at Kolbe Catholic College, Greenvale Lakes, reflects on the joy she gets from inspiring her students.
Teaching found me

Rita McEwen recently celebrated 10,000 days since she started teaching at Sacred Heart School, Newport.
People, progress and participation

Liam Benton, Science teacher and Year 12 Level Leader at Kolbe Catholic College, Greenvale Lakes, speaks about his passion for teaching.
Kim Williams Kate White Cassie O’Connell
Marking the milestones

Kim William, a Foundation teacher at St Mary’s School, Alexandra, reflects on her journey as a teacher, as well as the journey of her students as they mark 100 days of learning.
The power of ‘yet’

Kate White, a teacher at St Mary’s School, Mansfield, knows that not all students learn in the same way and at the same time.
Teach people to become good people

Cassie O’Connell from St Mary’s School, Alexandra, became a teacher to make a difference in the lives of her students.
Stacey Elliott Kimberly Walker Aaron Connolly
Making a difference

Stacey Elliott from Sacred Heart School, Yea, talks about her motivation for becoming a teacher and the joy she gets from making a difference in how her students learn.
A work−life balance

Kimberly Walker from St Macartan’s School, Mornington, was unsure about her original career path, but always knew she wanted to work with children. 
Be genuine with who you are

Aaron Connolly from Our Lady of Fatima School, Rosebud, speaks about his motivation to become a teacher and the learning opportunities that come with taking care of the natural environment.
Anna Bampton Rebecca Lark Jayden Tracey
There’s value in everyone

Coming from a long line of teachers, Anna Bampton from St Macartan’s School, Mornington, made the decision to move from acting to continue the family tradition.
We're performers

Rebecca Lark, a teacher at Holy Family School, Mount Waverley, had dreams of taking her talents to the stages of Broadway. Instead, she’s using her theatrical skills to teach and inspire her students.
Work towards a greater good

Jayden Tracey is a Prep teacher and Mathematics Leader at St James the Apostle School, Hoppers Crossing North. He balances his time between teaching the school’s youngest students and building the expertise of the school’s teachers.
Lize Viljoen
Never done learning

Lize Viljoen, a Year 3 teacher at St James the Apostle School, Hoppers Crossing North, reflects on her time in the classroom and the opportunities available to her students, particularly those opportunities in the garden.
Every day is different

Emily Patmore has started her teaching career at St Francis Xavier’s School, Box Hill, this year, but her path to teaching began as a learning support officer.
Every door is open

Luke Lanciana, a senior teacher at St Pius X School, Heidelberg West, comes from a rich family tradition of teaching. He discusses family engagement and explores what ‘lighting their path’ means to him.
Follow your heart

Thomas Pham is in his first year of teaching at Resurrection School, Kings Park. Having originally studied a Bachelor of Biomedicine, Thomas discovered that the career his heart was leading him to was teaching.
Learning is a never-ending story

Thomas Punzalan, a teacher at St Lawrence of Brindisi Catholic Primary School, Weir Views, talks about being authentic with his students and how learning is a never-ending story.
Never too late to change

For Emma Cooper, the draw of teaching was enough to prompt a return to study and a change of career. Now teaching at St Andrew’s School, Clayton South, Emma thrives on combining her love of teaching with her love of performing arts.
What did you learn today?

Danielle Jongebloed from Our Lady of Mount Carmel School, Sunbury, was faced with the choice of continuing a career in social work or moving to a new vocation in teaching. Fortunately, Danielle was able to bring the best from her previous career to support the learning needs of her students.
Those lightbulb moments

Alexis Seddon, a teacher at St Anne’s School, Sunbury, originally thought she would be working in psychology, but volunteering in a childcare centre changed her path. Alexis has some important advice for anyone interested in a career in teaching.
Work together in a team

Carmela Livoti, Italian language specialist teacher at Holy Trinity Catholic Primary School, Sunbury, loves to share her passion for languages by using an approach that is functional and fun.
Right isn’t always right

Natalie Baker, Numeracy Leader at Christ the King Primary School, Braybrook, has a passion for mathematics, and making it engaging and meaningful for students. Her approach with teachers and students is to change their mindset to build confidence and experience success.
A love of learning

Michael Dawson, a teacher in his second year at Emmaus College, Vermont South, was inspired by his own teachers to enter the profession. Through teaching History and Religious Education, he hopes to inspire that love of learning in his own students.
Students are valued, heard and important

Andrea Contessotto, Learning Area Leader (Humanities) at Emmaus College, Vermont South, didn’t know she wanted to become a teacher until an opportunity at university shone a light on her career path. Andrea reflects on what it means to be a teacher, and to have a job that brings together energy and creativity for the benefit of her students.
Return to the sector

Simon Devlin is Deputy Principal at St Margaret Mary’s School, Spotswood. From his own education at a Catholic school through to his career at a government school before returning to Catholic education, Simon reflects on the values of his current school and his hopes for his students.
From industry to the classroom

Eleanor Crawford switched from life as a petroleum chemist to become a Prep teacher at St Margaret Mary’s School, Spotswood. Eleanor talks about the motivation for wanting a career change and how her young students continue to surprise her through their learning.
Surprised by resilience

Sasha Sant from St Peter’s School, Sunshine South West, began her teaching career during a global pandemic, but it’s the resilience of her students that continues to surprise her.
Building on tradition

Celeste D’Souza from St Paul’s School, Sunshine West, has a long tradition as a student in Catholic primary and secondary schools, as well as Australian Catholic University. Now, as a teacher in a Catholic primary school, she brings that tradition alive for her students.
Bringing new ideas

Aoife McGuinness has gone from being a regular replacement teacher at St Mary’s School, St Kilda East, to having her own Year 4 class at the school. Aoife speaks about open communication with students and families particularly during times of change, as well as the unique opportunities offered by a Catholic education.
Prepare for the unknown

Ian Scott, Year 5 teacher at St Mary’s School, St Kilda East, began his first year as a graduate teacher during a global pandemic. That introduction to teaching has emphasised the importance of flexibility and helping his students to find their own light.
Finding your passion

Imasha Hewavasam, a teacher at St Francis de Sales Catholic Primary School, Lynbrook, reflects on her journey to becoming a teacher, including how travel overseas helped to change her focus from secondary teaching to primary teaching.
Teaching adds up

Kellie Barnhoorn, a teacher at Stella Maris School, Beaumaris, is taking steps into leadership through her work as Maths Leader at the school. Kellie reflects on her journey to teaching and provides some advice to young people considering a career in education.
You feel like you belong

Matt Crowe, teacher at St Roch’s School, Glen Iris, reflects on his experience teaching Year 5 students, and the opportunities for parents and families to be part of the learning journey.
Excited to learn

‘The best thing about my students is they’re so excited to learn’, said Stephanie Murnane, a Prep teacher at St Patrick’s School, Mentone.
Second nature

Bridget Last, a Prep teacher at St Patrick’s School, Mentone, has had a long association with the school, having begun her own education at the same school.
Use your voice to make change
Social Justice Coordinator and teacher of English, History and Religion, Tania Ragusa is no stranger to Mercy College, Coburg. Graduating as dux in 2015, Tania returned to the college as a teacher in 2021.

40 years and counting

Leanne Wenckowski, Prep teacher at St Fidelis’ School, Moreland, recently celebrated 40 years since she began her teaching career at the same school.