Meet the Staff – Mrs Lavinia Williams, year 1 and 2 Teacher

16 July, 2020

This month we have the pleasure of finding out a bit more about Gawura Year 1 and 2 teacher – Lavinia Williams.

Which Nation are you from?

Yuwalaraay and Gamilaraay.

What’s your role at Gawura?

Year 1 and 2 teacher.

What attracted you to this job?

I always wanted to go into a school like Gawura, it was part of my vision. I finished my training in Bathurst and my husband and I wanted to move to Sydney. My sister brought Gawura to my attention as my nephew had recently been accepted. So, I had a look at the website and there was a position available and I applied for it. It was all just perfect timing. It’s my dream job.

What does your typical day look like?

It’s always busy. The kids are quite a dynamic little group. So, a typical day! My role can change between being a teacher, a nurturer, a consoler, a nurse and a counsellor. In a typical day I try to maintain a safe and happy environment to allow them to learn and flourish. It’s very well balanced between culture and curriculum. They’re a hardworking little group so the more I put in the more they give me and the more we can continue to build and grow from there. Yeah, flat-out. All the time!

When did you start here?

In January 2018.

What’s your favourite part of your job?

My favourite part of the job is being able to link culturally with the families. It’s one of the biggest aspects of being an Aboriginal person, being able to find identity and heritage and tie it all together and bring it to the children in a classroom setting. To use the knowledge that I’ve gained from my community and my family and my elders growing up. The ability to be able to use that to give the children a sense of belonging and place.

What were you like at school?

In primary school I was a very hard worker. I absolutely loved English and learning about words and vocabulary. I was a good student; my mum was a teacher at the school. My parents placed a big emphasis on the importance of education when we were young, so I was very good.

However, it took a massive turn upside down when I had to leave my hometown and move to Sydney to access secondary education – then I was really naughty!
I was quite rebellious and I lost my identity, I lost place, I lost all of those cultural links. That’s one of the biggest reasons that I make sure all of the children who are in my care have access to both culture and curriculum in the classroom.

I’m making up for all the trouble I put some of my teachers through!

Who was your hero growing up?

As a child we learned a lot about the 2000 Olympics at the time, and I really loved a lot of the Olympians. I looked up to Evonne Goolagong, Kyle Vander-Kuyp and a lot of the Australian Olympians. At that stage I was a very good athlete at the time and I related to them.

Then I started to become more creative and I loved reading a lot of Kath Walker’s poetry.

Now, my heroes are everyday people who want to make an imprint for the next generation. Unsung Aboriginal heroes and also non-aboriginals who helped me learn how to walk in both worlds as well. Too many to name.


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