Arden Anglican School is always delighted to welcome back alumni members who have gone ‘back to school’, but this time in a teaching capacity. One example is Ms Heather Wallace who is working full-time as a Geography Teacher.
Ms Wallace started her Arden journey in pre-school and graduated from Year 12 in 2011. She has a heart for service and wishes to instill a love for learning in her own students.
Ms Wallace purposely chose to teach at Arden. “As a result of growing up at Arden I really felt like I understood what the Arden community was about. I saw the qualities that Arden staff members had and knew that these were the qualities I wanted to develop in my own teaching career. The staff at Arden are passionate about their subject areas, they are knowledgeable and most of all, they are caring. Arden staff always went above and beyond for their students and I knew that there would be no better mentor for me as a beginning teacher, than an Arden staff member. It was also important to me that I worked in a Christian workplace where God was put front and centre of all that I do. Arden gave me this opportunity. Arden is a school where students are known and well cared for. I really believe that this matched what I want my teaching philosophy to be based around,” she explained.
When asked what she hopes to bring to Arden, Ms Wallace shared, “School, in particular high school, is an important moment in time for young adults where they begin to shape who they are as individuals. It is a stepping stone to who they will become. I feel absolutely honoured knowing that I am part of their pathway to adulthood, but I also see it as a huge responsibility. I want to help shape students to become global citizens who are passionate about making a change. This is the role I see myself playing in their lives as their Geography teacher. Often, we live in bubbles where we take all we have for granted. I want to remove my students from this bubble and let them explore the world we live in so that they walk away with a greater understanding of how others live in this world. From this, I hope that they might be inspired to dream of a better world because every great dream always begins with a dreamer. I want my students to always remember, that they have within them the strength, the patience, and the passion to change the world. For me, teaching is therefore not just about delivering the curriculum, but it involves shaping students into who they will be as adults and the impact that they will have on the world.”
Ms Wallace was herself strongly influenced by the example of her own teacher and current Head of Geography, Mrs Karen Moss. She said that Ms Moss helped her develop her initial passion for Geography while at school, encouraged her to consider Geography teaching, and provided practical mentoring opportunities. “She welcomed me into her Geography classrooms whilst I was studying at university so I could observe her teaching and be inspired by it. This is just one example of how Arden staff develop relationships that transcend the classroom and continue onto adulthood.”
Since graduating from Arden, Ms Wallace has balanced undertaking her university degree with travel to many countries such as India, Vietnam, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Botswana. “I felt that I could not be a Geography teacher if I had not experienced the world and what it had to offer,” she said.
Ms Wallace also volunteered in a school in Tanzania and partnered with an organisation which worked with rural communities in South Africa to reduce rhino poaching.
“My entire time at Arden set me up to be the individual I am today,” concluded Ms Wallace. “Arden helped me grow into a curious individual, who wanted to explore the world that I lived in. Arden helped me to become courageous, so that I would not fear the changes that would take place as I transitioned out of school life. Arden also helped me to become compassionate so that I could relate to those around me and make a positive impact on the world.”
Pictured above: Ms Heather Wallace (Arden Anglican School alumnus and Geography teacher) with her mentor and past teacher Mrs Karen Moss (Head of Geography).