Sylvia is an Australian registered teacher, who gained her B.Ed [Hons in Esl] at Edith Cowan University, Western Australia, – and is known for saying ‘I love to Teach – It’s Fun!’ She grew up in the UK and got married 1978. She left school with just a leaving certificate and a broken family home that wasn’t conducive to further study.
1986, her husband Ray, was commissioned by the British Government to work in the Solomon Islands (SI’s) as Chief Pharmacist. Sylvia volunteered to teach one hour per day at a local Solomon Island School run by the local Chinese – ‘Chung Wah School’ and gradually was asked to do more. Eventually, she was teaching the Prep class as an unqualified teacher for three years.
The Australian Teachers at the School encouraged Sylvia to get her Teaching degree. 1991 Sylvia and her husband returned to UK where she went back to school to get her A’ level English & O’ level Maths. Two years later they emigrated to Western Australia where Sylvia trained for four years and taught for three. One student, she remembers vividly, on being placed in her class mid-year announced ‘My dad killed my mum and I hate school’. Two months later he loved school and didn’t want to leave. Read more in Sylvia’s Blog.
Sylvia and Ray lived and worked in Solomons Islands in the late 80s and early 90s. The”Ethnic Tension”, or civil unrest, blew up in 1999. Then, while the civil unrest was still a big risk in 2001, the Australian Government was still warning expatriates not to return or visit. But Sylvia and her husband were invited to return in early 2001.
In 2004, Sylvia and Ray worked with a local church, to start a primary school for students who could not afford the high fees of the International School but wanted a good education. That school is ‘BibleWay Emmaus Christian School’, Honiara, SI’s.
After much hesitation and a bit of nudging from Solomon Island friends, she took up the reigns. Sylvia promised to start it but at the end of the year someone else must take on the reigns as Principal of the School. The elders of the church agreed but five years later she was still there. Of course, that was what they had planned all along but just didn’t tell her. Teaching, leading, training teachers, accounting, budgeting, and so on . . . Then a Solomon Island Teacher Robert Tamani who was Sylvia’s Deputy Principal took over Jan 2008 and by Dec 2009 Sylvia and her husband Ray moved back to Australia. The school became one of the top three in the Islands with students graduating in the top 20% cohort to get into High School. There are not many High Schools, so there only the top 20% can get a place. Can you imagine that happening here in Australia, UK or the States?
Returning to Australia, Sylvia had previously taught in Western Australia but she is now currently teaching in South Australia. For more details – read Sylvia’s article – ‘I love to Teach because its Fun!’