A Q&A with Old Flinderian, Vashti Anderson (Class of 1998)

Vashti Anderson graduated from Flinders with the Class of 1998. In 2020, she returned to Flinders, this time as a teacher!

It is wonderful to have Vashti join our staff team and bring her vibrance and passion for teaching to guide our students in the Secondary School.

Enjoy this Q&A as Vashti reflects on her years at Flinders and beyond.

What does life look like for you now? 
I am a busy mum to three children and very excited to have (finally!) graduated as a secondary teacher from the University of Sunshine Coast in July 2020. I am currently very privileged to be teaching English and Humanities here at Flinders.

What was your favourite Flinders moment?
I had so many memorable moments at Flinders, from the Year 10 survival camp to winning eisteddfods in the string orchestra; from performing a lead role in the musical ‘Godspell’ to cheering on Bradman on sports days. I would have to say though, the best thing about Flinders was the people I met while I was at school, friends that I still consider to be family to this day. Walking out of Flinders on my last day of Year 12, arm-in-arm with my cohort, gave me such a sense of pride and belonging. I look back on my years as a Flinders student as an adult and know that I am so lucky to be part of the Flinders community.

Do you have a particular role model or person who inspired you during your time at Flinders and beyond?
Every day, I am inspired by the actions of ‘ordinary people’, including my own children and students and teachers here at Flinders. Several of the teachers I remember are still here (I won’t mention any names…) and they have been so very supportive of me as a beginning teacher, taking me under their wings as I find my feet.

Did you struggle to choose a career path beyond graduation?
Along the way, I have made many life choices as I have been deciding ‘what to be when I grow up’.  Somehow, before I knew it, I actually WAS a ‘grown up’ and I realised it was high time that I knuckled down and decided on a career that would support my family while keeping me from my pet hate: boredom. What I love about teaching is that it is guaranteed that no two days will EVER be the same!

Did your further study or career go exactly as you planned?

Not even slightly! When I graduated from Flinders, I took the advice of people around me and began a Bachelor of Engineering at the University of Queensland. I was planning to focus on Minerals Processing as I knew that there would be many career opportunities available to me in that industry. I was very excited to be offered a position at North Parkes Mines as a Student Metallurgist for vacation work after my first year. After three months in a lab in country NSW, I realised that this was NOT the job for me at all. I then focused on teaching violin to private students, having a family, and working as a travel agent, then insurance client services officer and then bank teller before deciding that teaching was the job for me. I supported my family and myself as I ploughed through university by working as an instrumental tutor of stringed instruments, which gave me the opportunity to practise the classroom skills I was learning about at university.

What advice do you have for current students?

My advice would be to appreciate the supportive learning environment you have here at Flinders. Your teachers and the incredible facilities of this school are all here for YOU, so take advantage of them and use them well. 
Focus on studying the things that you will enjoy and are passionate about, rather than the ‘score’ at the end. Remember, if you love what you do, you will never ‘work’ a day in your life.

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