Deputy Principal, Mrs Anne Ingram, found her passion for pastoral care in her first teaching position. Since joining Brisbane Girls Grammar School in 1993, Anne has held a number of roles, including helping develop the School’s Student Care Program.
For me, making the choice to become a teacher was a very natural decision. My mother and father were teachers, as were many of our relatives. As a family, teaching seemed to be in our blood. Today, my older sister is an educator too and my younger sister, a speech pathologist, is now a professor teaching at The University of Queensland.
After completing my tertiary studies, my first job was at a co-ed secondary school in a socially disadvantaged area. Although I was teaching in the Science Faculty, this was my first foray into pastoral care. I quickly discovered that to progress academically, a student’s emotional and social development must also be nurtured. This was a defining moment in my career—I knew I wanted to work in Student Care and I knew my purpose as an educator.
Teachers who bring that rich pastoral sense to their classrooms are the ones who students connect with most deeply. They enable students to feel valued, along with a sense of connection and belonging. We can never underestimate the importance of this and the impact that it can have on the lives of our students. Every day at BGGS, be it through the House system, in the classroom, or on the sports field, our staff—united by a shared purpose of educating girls and a love of learning—create these moments of connection and enrich our girls’ lives.
When I moved into the role of Head of Beanland House in 2008, the scientist in me was very much, at that time, interested in teenage brain development. Research in the area of neuroplasticity was becoming more prevalent and as a mother of two adolescent girls, debunking the myths and misconceptions about teenagers proved quite fascinating, and allowed me to be a better mother and educator.
Much like science, the field of student care continues to evolve and we place a top priority on investigating the best practices and frameworks for our school. Since commencing at BGGS almost three decades ago, I’ve seen the introduction of technology into classrooms and subsequently designed programs for our students to support the wise use of technology. Through the BGGS Ethics curriculum, the School continues to be agile in our approach to the girls’ learning, to ensure that they are supported with the right information at the right time in their development. The School’s Mindfulness Framework, which was introduced in 2014, is one such example.
Grammar girls are focused, dedicated and thoughtful. I have loved my time at the School, working with wonderful students and a very dedicated staff. My greatest satisfaction still comes from watching girls achieve their goals knowing that through grit and determination their hard work has paid off. At the core of everything we do, we must always remember the importance of hard work, kindness and gratitude, and that we cannot really enjoy life’s triumphs without being challenged first.
Teaching is much more than spending time in a classroom. It is the lessons learned through dedication and hard work that will arm our girls to face the challenges of tomorrow. For most students, and staff too, it is these lessons learned that will resonate for years to come. And it is my hope that our girls are equipped to embrace such challenges with a spirit of hope and optimism, and become resilient, confident young women.