Meet A Fairholme Teacher
Kylie nervously fixes her short hair.
‘You’re not really recording this are you? Surely there’s someone more interesting you can talk to than me?’
Kylie Wallis is humble and softly spoken. She’s also tall, so it’s not surprising when she mentions she used to be a State Netballer.
‘I don’t play netball anymore. But I run. I love running. I’m going in the half marathon this year. Well… I think I am. I’ll see how I go.’
I mention that’s a bit rich coming from someone who helps teach Fairholme girls that they can anything. She laughs and says,
‘Oh alright. I am going to do it.’
The Learning Enhancement Co-ordinator has certainly inspired plenty of students to carry on, even when it all seems too hard.
‘Pastoral care is the best part of my job. I love to make the girls a warm cup of tea and feed them a sweet biscuit, and let them sit back and realise they can handle anything.’
Kylie admits there’s been students come through who together, with their parents, wonder how they’ll ever graduate, and then end up at the top of the class.
‘I think the most rewarding thing is when you have a student arrive and they’ve really struggled. Their confidence is low as a result. But you work with them and let them know they’re ok, and they’ll get through it. Then all of a sudden they’re finishing Year 12 with remarkable results.’
Kylie, her husband Tony, and 15 year old son, Tom, live on the Toowoomba Grammar grounds. Tony is a Boarding Master. Kylie is surrounded by boys.
‘I love gardening, but I only have a little space so I’ve just planted sweet pea, freesias and violets. That’s what Nan used to plant, so I love the smell. I’m obsessed with fairy lights – I love them! I’ve covered my frangapani tree with them. I’m not sure if all those boys in the Boarding House ever look out their window and admire them – but I think they’re gorgeous.’
Kylie was a Boarder at a school in Rockhampton. Her Mum and Dad owned a farm in Central Queensland, so it’s not surprising she loves travelling with other Fairholme staff to meet newly enrolled Boarders.
Her job is to better understand a girl’s academic progress before she arrives at Fairholme. For many of the girls Kylie meets, coming to Fairholme will be their first time in a classroom.
‘We’re off to Winton this year and people ask me – why would you go all that way? Why wouldn’t we? Aside from getting to know what that girls needs academically when she arrives at Fairholme – we also get a glimpse of the life they’re leaving for the majority of the year. We see what she’s come to love. We know her animals, we’ve had a cuppa with her Mum, we’ve talked business and crops with Dad. We make connections that will help us calm her when she comes to us all upset because she’s overwhelmed by school life. That’s important for our girls if they’re to feel like they belong. Academic success follow that.’
It’s so much more than a warm cup of tea.