School’s Out: Korowa Anglican Girls’ School Head of Year 9 Ellen Moffatt

Ellen Moffatt. Photo: Greg Briggs

Ellen Moffatt. Photo: Greg Briggs

Ellen Moffatt has had a long history at Korowa Anglican Girls’ School having first experienced the school as a student. Now, as the Head of year 9, she is overseeing the wellbeing of students.

Tell us about being a student at Korowa Anglican Girls’ School …

I started at Korowa in 1999 as a year 4 student. It was a fabulous place to learn and I now consider it a fabulous place to work! From the start, I remember being amazed at the number of opportunities that were available to me as a Korowa student.

Do you have a favourite school memory?

I was an active participant in Korowa’s performing arts programs, so the school musicals were always a huge highlight for me.

What made you want to be an educator?

As a Korowa student, one of the things I was most grateful for was having such dedicated and inspirational educators, some of whom I am now lucky to call my colleagues. In particular, my former languages teacher and current head of department, Dianne Tamburro, ignited my passion and excitement for foreign language learning and was a key inspiration in my decision to become a teacher of French and German.

What made you return to Korowa as a teacher?

Korowa has always had an excellent languages program, offering Chinese, French, German and Japanese. Given that I loved attending Korowa as a student, considering it as a potential workplace came naturally. I was fortunate that an opportunity to work in the Korowa Junior School became available just as I was graduating from my undergraduate studies. Dianne Tamburro, along with a fabulous educator named Sharyne Rankine (who was the head of junior school at the time) had faith in me to take on the role of junior school languages teacher. I owe a lot to both of them.

What does your role as Head of Year 9 involve?

I oversee the wellbeing of year 9 students at the school. It’s a role that is multifaceted and complex at times, but extremely rewarding, as I get to work with the girls on a very different level to that of a teacher. I work alongside other wellbeing staff to assist the girls in managing challenges. We do this by enacting a wellbeing curriculum that develops skills and understandings that relate to emotional intelligence, maintaining respectful relationships, cyber citizenship, servant leadership, positive psychology, problem solving and mental health.

What have the year 9 students been up to this year?

The year 9 program is an incredibly exciting one. In term 1, the girls participated in a Challenge Day that helped them to develop collaborative, communicative and leadership skills. They then attended a week-long program at City Cite in the CBD, which involved project work on intractable social justice issues such as homelessness. We are now looking ahead to Adventure Ready Week in term 2, which will see the girls participating in outdoor and adventure-based activities.

Tell us about your upcoming trip to Washington DC …

At the end of last year, I submitted a presentation proposal for the Global Forum on Girls’ Education II in Washington DC, and I was lucky enough to be selected as a presenter.
I will be making a presentation about the neurobiological signature of the “Aha! Moment”, and whether or not these “Aha!” or “lightbulb” moments play a significant role in learning (and, therefore, in teaching).

What makes you passionate about languages like French and German?

Languages were always a strength of mine at school. I always viewed foreign languages as puzzles to be put together; with each new word or grammatical concept I acquired, I was able to add a piece to the puzzle, and I was able to methodically work toward understanding and producing more and more of the language with confidence.
I have always found the sound systems of different languages fascinating; in fact, I undertook two years of Spanish at university as well, as I’ve always found it to be such an animated and exciting-sounding language. A love of travel has also spurred me on in mastering new languages.

  • Korowa Anglican Girls’ School, 10-16 Ranfurlie Crescent, Glen Iris.
  • 03 9811 0200
  • www.korowa.vic.edu.au

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