Meet the Staff – Leanna Carr-Smith, Wiradjuri Language Teacher

1 May, 2020

This month I’d like to introduce you to our Wiradjuri Language Teacher – Leanna Carr-Smith

What Nation are you from?

Wiradjuri Nation

What’s your role at Gawura?

I’m Wiradjuri language teacher. I teach the Gawura kids as well as the junior school.

What attracted you to this job?

I’ve been in education for over 20 years. When I saw the position I applied for it. I come down from Bathurst every Sunday and go back on Wednesday.

What does your typical day look like?

Monday’s are usually the busiest with all the junior school classes and on Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s I’m in Gawura. It’s always pretty busy. I teach in a traditional style, we’re storytellers. It’s a big part of our culture, oral history. I teach the culture as well as the language. It’s about story telling and the back-story to the language.

When did you start here?


What’s your favourite part of your job?

My favourite part is when the light comes on for the students and then they can connect the dots. That’s what I love. Then they can explain back to you what you’ve taught them. Right now I’m teaching them about animals, which will then lead into the totem system.

What were you like at school?

I don’t know. When I think about school for me, school was different. People like me, I now realise I didn’t fit in because I thought about things differently. School was always hard because I didn’t want to be there. And there was no cultural content in what we were doing. I had to do it but it didn’t interest me. I used to get into trouble at high school because I was always correcting the teachers.
That’s why I wanted to be involved in education so that I could provide that cultural context.

Who was your hero growing up?

I think for me I always admired my grandmothers and grandfathers. My old people. Because of the adversity they had overcome to give me what I had then. I always say it’s my old people that inspire me. You hear young people now talking about being freedom fighters; my grandfather was a freedom fighter a hundred years ago. That’s why I can do what I do now, because of what they did.

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