Teaching - a family affair

Kate Bricknall with some of her students

For Kate Bricknell, a head teacher at Tamworth High School, teaching is more than a career - it is a family affair.

Her great aunt, parents, brother and two eldest daughters are all teachers and her third daughter is currently studying education to be a  primary school teacher. Her late husband was also a teacher.

"Teaching is very much part of our family story. It means we have a built-in support network and a group who celebrate and share in the joys of our work," Ms Bricknell said.

It was this strong family connection that inspired Ms Bricknell to take up a career in teaching.

"My parents met through the job and were both incredible teachers. I saw what they did for people and the difference they made for others and this was a powerful motivator for me," Ms Bricknell said.


She was also inspired by her time as a student at Peel Technology High school in the state's west.

"My teachers at Peel were exceptional; they taught me that learning is far more than what is in a text book.  They gave me a platform for my future as a student and also as a teacher," Ms Bricknell said, whose connection with school went full circle when she returned to work there.

Along with balancing teaching and her family, Ms Bricknell is completing her doctorate at the University of New England. Her research examines the value of strong partnerships between schools and the families of students completing senior high school.

"We have a responsibility to ensure strong home-school partnerships at all stages of school education.  Strong partnerships are integral to student learning, development and success," Ms Bricknell said.

Twenty years on her passion for the profession is unwavering. What continues to motivate Ms Bricknell is the opportunity to shape the futures of her students and to ensure they have strong learning and life opportunities.

"I enjoy watching the metamorphosis of students and teaching gives you the privilege of seeing this every day.  I am driven by the moment when a student's ‘light comes on', when an idea or a concept becomes real," Ms Bricknell said.

She has some sage advice for new teachers - wisdom gleaned from colleagues and family members alike over the years.

 "Be proud of what you do because you impact the future. You may not see the outcome for many years but you need to believe that it is there."

Ms Bricknell appears in two videos on the department's School A-Z website – Preparing for the HSC and Developing resilience in your child.

Photo: Kate Bricknall with some of her students.



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