Meet A Fairholme Teacher - Laura Anderson
Laura Anderson has been working in the Fairholme Pathways centre, and as the College Careers Specialist for seven years now.
‘Basically I help our girls develop a senior pathways plan and negotiate pre-requisites for University.’
She says it in a matter-of-fact way. Makes it sound simple. But it’s not.
‘You ask these young women questions - is University for you? Maybe it’s not. Maybe she’d like to look at Tafe options or alternative education pathways. Or maybe she wants to be Paediatrician – but she doesn’t think anyone else will think she can do it. That’s where I step in.’
Laura says she works on growth mindset with students, teaching them to believe in their dreams and not to settle for second or third preferences.
‘I think being the College Careers Specialist marries really well with the Pathways planning. I really believe in student agency, and allowing the girls to take responsibility for their own pathways. I don’t want them to sit there passively waiting for someone to tell them what they should be focussing on. I want to see them excited at the prospect of turning a dream into a reality.’
We laugh at the thought of ever having a Careers Specialist to talk to when we were at school, let alone someone to sit down with and help us navigate the world of Tafe, University and Trade options.
Laura agrees, education for girls has never been better.
‘I never had this at school. My mindset back then was to not be smarter than a boy… and here I am working in one of the most successful all girls’ schools in Australia. That’s what’s great about Fairholme. Girls are encouraged to be their best and know that they won’t be judged for being ambitious or successful.’
Seeing the girls after Fairholme makes Laura’s job more rewarding than she ever imagined.
‘There was a young lady and past student of mine, working as a social worker at an event I was invited to, and I got to see the “finished product”. She stood up and gave an amazing presentation, and is doing wonderful things for her community, and she told me after her presentation, “you’re the reason I’m doing what I am today”…. That is so rewarding.’
Outside the grounds of Fairholme you might find Mrs Anderson driving a green combi.
‘I go camping in it a lot. I don’t think I’m a hippy, but I love the combi. I love the way people react to it. You never get a bad reaction when you’re driving the combi. People smile and wave.’
And if she’s not behind the wheel of the combi, she might be competing in a triathlon.
‘I completed my first one in 2009 – and I’ve got better as I’ve got older,’ she laughs.
Laura is a mother too - her daughter, who is now 28, lives in Toowoomba. She is a wife to Bevan who, for the past six months, has been working in Antarctica as an aviation support officer.
‘He googled jobs in Antarctica. I'm not kidding. He applied three times before he was offered the job. It is the ultimate story of just having a go.’
"Baching it" with her dog Pepsi hasn’t been as liberating as Laura thought it might be.
‘It’s been hard not having anyone to debrief with when I get home. But I think it was hardest hearing him upset that he was so far away from home. I think I now have a better understanding of what Boarder families go through.’