By Desilee Tait

Guest blogger, Desilee Tait, is Gifted and Talented teacher at Loreto Kirribilli, a girls’ school in Sydney with students from kindergarten to year 12.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” This is a question that children get asked a lot and whilst it can spur on images of one day solving crime as a police officer, teaching a class full of students, or building skyscrapers, it is often a very difficult question to answer. Children start to develop an idea of what they want to be from a young age, looking to parents, television and people around them for inspiration. Therefore, it is important that children get career inspiration from a variety of role models.

I am lucky enough to be in the role of Gifted and Talented teacher at Loreto school. This program aims to offer gifted and talented students more personalised learning opportunities. At the age of 10, we are already seeing children with skills, talents and passion that if correctly nurtured can lead to them reaching their true potential! As part of my role I work with professionals across a wide range of sectors who are kind enough to volunteer their time to present to our students and get them enthusiastic about their area of expertise.

Speaking to ten-year-old’s is often daunting to these professionals, they would happily present to a board room or perform surgery but give them a class full of school children and the nerves seem to kick in. Therefore, it is my role to make the presenters feel as comfortable as possible by assisting them to create lessons that are fun and inspiring for the children.

My role is a very satisfying one, in my day-to-day work I get to meet professionals from a variety of backgrounds and see the lasting impression that they have on the students. A recent example has been my work with Cundall’s Victoria Norris. It was very exciting for the students to meet Victoria as she not only has a very interesting job as a Sustainability Consultant but is a fantastic female role model in the engineering industry.

Victoria was a natural in the classroom, she explained her role as a sustainability consultant by first teaching the girls about what sustainability is and over the next few lessons taught the girls more about how buildings are designed to be more sustainable. Based on this learning, Victoria ran activities with the students asking them to come up with their own ideas on how to be more sustainable, followed by helping them design a sustainable home. The girls were very inspired by Victoria’s lessons, there were lot of arms stretched high with students begging to ask questions and share their ideas.

Not only were the students introduced to Victoria’s profession as a Sustainability Consultant, but by learning about sustainability they could better understand other topics they had been learning about as well. For example, learning about the different heating and cooling needs for different parts of Australia taught the girls more about the importance of geography. Similarly, the angles of the sun and shading helped them understand the importance of trigonometry. Their arts skills were also put to the test when sketching their buildings and explaining why sustainability is important to them through stories and poetry.

After having Victoria come in and teach the girls about sustainability and what a Sustainability Consultant does there are a few more people that can answer the age-old question “what do you want to be when you grow up?”

To learn more about Loreto Kirribilli’s Gifted and Talented program click here. To find out more about Cundall’s ‘Inspiring the Next Generation’ program please get in contact here.

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Future Engineers, Guest blogger, Inspiring the next generation, Sustainability, Women in Engineering


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