Mrs Philippa Graham joined our College staff team in January, 2020 in the role of Year 7 Core Teacher of English & Humanities. We are thrilled to have her guiding our Year 7 students as she empowers them to take ownership of their learning.
We asked Philippa some questions so that our College community can get to know her better.
Q: What are you looking forward to about supporting and guiding the students at Flinders?
Philippa: I’m keen to give students diverse and fun opportunities to demonstrate and share their learning and apply it to the wider community. I have a keen interest in problem-based learning. So I encourage students to apply their learning to real world problems and scenarios. This year, I am immensely enjoying my role as a Year 7 mentor at Flinders. I also appreciate that the focus on pastoral care is very strong at the College. This has enabled me to guide students and support them throughout their first year at Flinders Secondary School.
Please share your background story.
I was born in Zambia and moved to England when I was 7 years old. My parents have always encouraged my siblings and I to travel, and so in 2012 I moved to New Zealand with my very young family (at the time, our children were two years old and four months old). We spent a very happy five years there, although we felt there was another adventure to be had. At the beginning of 2018 we moved to Brisbane, and finally settled on the Sunshine Coast early this year.
What have you enjoyed about your career to date?
Prior to moving to Australia, I was teacher-in-charge of Critical Thinking and Social Studies at a small independent school in New Zealand. I loved being part of the community and this is where my passion for problem-based learning was ignited as I was able to organise numerous student-driven challenges and activities.
Activities ranged from a Pacific Picnic, where students ran their own fundraising event after a cyclone hit Fiji; Christmas Markets; the creation of a garden on the school grounds; and a Living Museum where students ‘came to life’ in character as a famous leader from the past.
I began my teaching career in England at a school with a 500-year history. I was a teacher of Ethics & Philosophy, Religion as well as the Year 7 Mentor. I never really considered any other profession than teaching and have not regretted my decision!
What do you enjoy about living on the Sunshine Coast?
Being able to put roots down – we have built a house here and have finally unpacked all of our boxes after many years of renting! As soon as we visited the Sunshine Coast we knew this is where we wanted to be and are so happy to call this beautiful area home.
What do you find special about working in a school community?
Everyday is a school day! I love the collaboration, excitement and curiosity which each day brings.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
It’s not so much advice, but a philosophy on life that I received from my grandfather. He taught me to always look on the bright side of things, and to recognise that your actions have the power to impact someone in a positive or negative way so it’s much better to leave a happy footprint behind. He was a real inspiration and was such a humble and gentle soul that he made a big impact on those he met.