Suzanne Farley: A dynamic educator empowering young minds beyond academics

10 Best Influential Educational Leaders in 2022

Teaching has always been bestowed as a noble profession of shaping talented young minds of today to build a better tomorrow. Educators and educational leaders carry huge responsibilities while sharing their knowledge, experience, and vision with the leaders of tomorrow.

Thus, it is truly said that a teacher can make or break the entire generation. Not anyone fits the job of an educator for this sole reason. Individuals with sheer passion and goodwill can carry the responsibility successfully by going beyond their way to empower and encourage students to achieve their full potential.

Suzanne Farley, Deputy Principal Learning and Teaching, Caroline Chisholm Catholic College is among the eminent pillars of the education field who has been going beyond her way to not only teach but guide students in the right direction while experiencing her evolution from a teacher to an educator.

Tell us about your journey in the education field?

I started my teaching career in 2000 at Gippsland Victoria in Biology and Secondary Science subjects. The first leadership opportunity came my way during the time the Victorian curriculum was introduced. I was given the responsibility of leading Year 9 and 10 students.

Instead of taking them as separate courses for two years, we started planning a two-year continuum as the outcome new curriculum.

After gaining extensive teaching experience in country schools I decided to move to the city for work. I felt I was ready for new work challenges and career goals.

During my career in the education field, I worked with some incredible teachers before accepting the role of Director Learning Year 10 – 12 at Caroline Chisholm Catholic College. The opportunity to lead our institution as the Deputy Principal came shortly after my arrival, which I have been adhering to with all my knowledge and potential.

What motivated you to enter the noble sector of education? What challenges did you face during your journey to become an educator?

My desire to share my interest in the Sciences motivated me to enter the teaching field in the first place. During my years of studying and in science research, I realized my passion to discuss the concepts and theories and pass on the knowledge received.

However, having a passion for something is one part, and turning your passion into a profession is truly different.

When you try to sell an idea and a solution, you need to be objective and open enough to recognize and accept that there is no one answer. I realized I need to be more creative to find solutions and focus on the context of the challenges within a learning environment.

The challenges were many, they still are there in the education field affecting the teaching and learning experience as a whole. However, my passion and persistence towards spreading knowledge always encourage me to overcome all these challenges.

Tell us about the academic environment at Caroline Chisholm Catholic College. What makes the institution stand out in the education space?

Located in West Melbourne Caroline Chisholm Catholic College functions as a co-educational secondary College. Since its inception, our institution has been dedicated to achieving excellence in an engaged, supportive learning environment.

On the academic front, our institution provides a wide variety of curriculum, including VET, VCE, and VCAL programs. We also include a comprehensive co-curricular program such as spanning sport, art, drama, music, languages, technology, maths, and social justice to encourage the overall personal development of our students.

What advice would you give to fellow educators?

The education sector in Australia is experiencing a major change in the past few years. And education institutions must be prepared to respond to the changes foreseen and unknown.

I would advise my fellow educators to be innovative. Always encourage and be encouraged to try something new be it academic, administrative, or decision-making level. Failure is not a bad thing, we must continue learning and evolving with the challenges to embrace the possibilities and opportunities of building a better future.

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