Mrs Anna Owen, Deputy Principal, grew up in rural Queensland. After completing her tertiary studies, Anna taught at several schools throughout South East Queensland, before joining Brisbane Girls Grammar School in 2014.
During my schooling, the furthest thing from my mind was the future and my contributions to society, but I knew that I enjoyed learning. Even then, I think I was destined to become a teacher. It is this love of learning that I believe unites all teachers; the subsequent knowledge that it has the power to change lives is what inspires us to share this love with our students.
Teaching provides so many moments of joy. The moment a student grasps a concept—the ‘a ha’ moment—that is something that stays with you, as do the moments where you have the opportunity to be ‘present’ for a student.
While at the time, and on the surface, these moments do not appear life changing, they are often the memories recalled by students years later as having had the most impact. So many times I have heard ‘I still remember that time …’ when a student and teacher reunite, sometimes decades after they have graduated from school.
I remember one student in particular, whose endurance—despite facing numerous, and significant, challenges—remains with me today. For four years, I was there, with her, as she navigated, and overcame each obstacle in her path. She did this with a grace, and determination, that was both uplifting and heartbreaking. For me, being there with her remains the moment I ‘knew’.
I knew I was meant to be a teacher, and I knew that this student would remember these four years, and me being there, for the rest of her life. That was a defining moment for me.
Then I think about Girls Grammar, and I know that these moments happen here every day. Every day, our teachers are with our girls as they navigate some of the most important years of their lives.
They do this knowing that years, decades later, that this student will share the story of a moment, a memory of their time at the School, as one that changed their life. Perhaps they will share this story with their own daughter, as she prepares to don the blue and white for the first time, and add her own chapter to the Girls Grammar story.
It is this knowledge that has heightened my recognition of the importance of a single moment. It is something I have witnessed repeatedly at Girls Grammar, as we embark on a lifelong journey with our girls, even before their first day of Year 7. Their Girls Grammar story also does not end when they walk through the white picket fence for the last time; they will recall, for the rest of their lives, their time here at the School. More often than not, they will return to the School in the years that follow, whether for a reunion, as a parent, or to share their story with the next generation of Grammar girls.
Being here is special. There is no doubt that this School shapes everyone who passes through its halls, and I am no exception.
The School motto, Nil Sine Labore, provides an insight into the process of growth that our young women experience. Youthful exuberance may allow girls to tackle problems head-on, but guidance is required to re-direct energy into pursuits that are truly rewarding. Ultimately, it is the lessons learned through dedication and hard work that will arm them to face the challenges of tomorrow and life beyond school.
Perhaps the biggest lesson I have been reminded of since being at Girls Grammar is one I have known since my time at primary school, when the journey home from School took far too long because I was bursting with excitement to tell my parents something new I’d learned that day … teaching is so much more than spending time a classroom.