PAOLA TAMBERLIN
SENIOR SCHOOL

 

When I finished university, my professor asked me “What do you want to do with your life?” to which I replied, “Give something back, because I have been so lucky.”

 
Paola Tamberlin’s love of travel and pursuit of experience of all walks of life have led her around the world, looking for opportunities to live out her favourite quote by William Faulkner: “[People] will not merely endure; they will prevail.” When she is not working as Queenwood’s Head of Community Engagement, she can be found watching foreign films with no distinct ending, exploring art galleries or swimming among the waterfalls in Kempsey.

I am never satisfied with the finished product, I am always asking “What else can I do?”

When I finished university, my professor asked me “what do you want to do with your life?” to which I replied, “Give something back, because I have been so lucky.”

I am particularly passionate about working with our First Nations Peoples to promote a deep understanding of the sophisticated cultures we have in Australia. I just love seeing our girls and all the students from Macleay Vocational College playing basketball together, cheering each other on and teasing each other. They are all just kids at heart and have a desire to connect.

We have been lucky enough to have Queenwood teachers participate in a cultural immersion on Yuin Country led by Aboriginal Elder Uncle Max. We would begin the day at sunrise, giving thanks for the gift of the new day. I have tried to continue this in my own life by giving thanks every day – just not always at sunrise!

I am never satisfied with the finished product, I am always asking “What else can I do?” The creation of the Social Justice Club, our School relationship with MVC and fundraising at the School are all designed to empower the girls to be advocates – it takes a whole community to make a change. It’s wonderful that the girls can recognise situations where they can do more themselves, and have the drive to take it into their own hands. This has become part of my family life, too, as we are opened up to new worlds and other ways of living through my passion for social justice.

Working with Indigenous children has taught me more than I have ever taught them. Even after completing my Masters, and specialising in Indigenous studies, the real connection and breakthroughs have come when I have looked at the practical purposes of what I had been taught. This means building relationships, recognising the value of kinship and treating all people with respect. This has been welcomed into my classroom. One of my favourite teaching memories was asking a young class to draw a place that was special to them, and one of the students drew the most exquisite tree. I asked her about this tree and it was on her grandmother’s farm, her favourite place in the world. By sharing this with me, I was able to see what she valued, and be let into her world.