Reflections with staff member, Conny Bibby
29 March 2023
In our 20th year, staff member Connie Bibby, reflects on her time at the College.
Before I found my forever home at St Andrew’s Anglican College, I was teaching at Forest Lake College in Brisbane and living in New Farm. Prior to that I was teaching in a small place called Owensboro in the state of Kentucky in the USA.
On a taxi ride home one night my husband asked the driver if he knew of any places that were near the beach and had golf courses and he promptly replied, “Coolum!” Back then Coolum was a best kept secret and so we bought our pole house in Mount Coolum with a golf membership thrown in. Our son was nearing Prep age and one of the conditions of moving here was that my husband find a school that was equivalent to the schooling he might have enjoyed at Marist Brothers College in Ashgrove, Brisbane. He did and it was called St Andrew’s Anglican College!
Our family met Mr Mike Gregory in the Prep classroom in 2005 and the rest is history. I began relief teaching that year, which was followed by contract work in Year 1, firstly for Lara Stiller in Year 1 while she was on maternity leave and then another contract for Helen Ottaway while on her maternity leave. At the completion of these contracts Mr Paterson encouraged me to take on opportunity of teaching Year 6 because he thought it would be a good fit. Mr Paterson assured me that that my new colleague and I would become a dynamic duo! We did, and still are, aren’t we Mr Fraser?
I really enjoyed teaching all the children in Year 6 their Science and Humanities lessons and was very proud to have been able to obtain a scheduled double lesson of Science for all the students in the Secondary Science Laboratories. For many a student it would be their first time lighting a match and then a Bunsen burner and I felt privileged to be able to hold their hand through this journey and to see their pride and exhilaration at doing something so very grown up. It was not so much fun however, when they instinctively grabbed a hot Bunsen burner and went home with Nurse Kath’s very elaborate and scary looking silver dressings!
Another lovely memory from St Andrew’s is that of Connie Confidence from the You Can Do It program. I thought I had been given the role of wearing the very short, ridiculous outfit of Connie Confidence because I would look great in it and would be a great role model for the children on how to be confident. Looking back now I am not completely convinced these were the reasons and that I was the first person to be approached for the role! Fortunately, however we have adopted a new program Friendology which does not require any dress-ups because there is only a certain amount of stretch in any garment.
In my twelve-year journey in Year 6 I enjoyed many highlights such as the annual seventeen-hour bus trips to Canberra and Longreach. Had I not been teaching at St Andrew’s I would not have experienced these trips nor learnt so much about this wonderful country and its people and for that I am very grateful. Would you believe it only took me five trips to Canberra before I garnered enough courage to attempt the 'free fall' at Questacon! Not only did I travel within Australia but I was very fortunate to travel to China twice with a Year 6 contingent which was also an amazing and eye-opening experience. I would not have had these opportunities if I had not been working at St Andrew’s.
Currently, I am teaching in Year 4 and enjoying the joy for learning these little people display. It is contagious. I am also not too embarrassed to admit that I might be one of the oldest Primary School students. Every day, as a fifty something year old I learn something new from a colleague or student. As a Year 2 student my son told me he had put his hand up and got the answer wrong, so I asked him what the teacher did next, and he promptly replied, that she told him to have another go! I’ve since stolen and used this technique often.
There have been many changes throughout my time teaching here at St Andrew’s. Would you believe at one stage Mr Dean’s office was once the library? Can you imagine driving in a bus to the Noosa Aquatic Centre for swimming lessons or having the whole Primary School Chapel in B Block? While much has changed the constant here at St Andrew’s is that the school strives to challenge students not only academically but socially and emotionally. When new opportunities are put on the table the question is not why but why not!