Crafting Curiosity: A Glimpse into the World of Science and Woodwork Teacher Lauren

For our latest ‘Staff Spotlight’ we chatted to teacher Lauren Thompson to learn more about her interesting teaching combination of Science and Woodwork. In this article, Lauren shares with us details about her teaching career, what inspired her to become a teacher, her favourite part about being a teacher and more. 

Can you tell us about what your teaching journey has looked like so far?

I began teaching Science and Physical Education in 2010, relocating from Perth to Karratha to teach at St Luke’s College, where I was appointed to the Acting Head of Science position after three years. Teaching Human Biology to Years 11 and 12 deepened my passion for the subject. I enjoyed crafting digital lessons and spearheaded the integration of student devices. Relocating to Karratha was rewarding, fostering community connections and school involvement.

Later, I taught at Aquinas College, including the Year 10 Access Pathways course. Amidst teaching, I faced and overcame bowel cancer, grateful for the school community’s support. I then briefly taught at Iona Presentation College, relishing the all-girls’ educational setting.

Returning to Aquinas College, I continued nurturing students’ engagement and curiosity in Human Biology. Being located so close to the river was an amazing resource for science lessons, and I enjoyed planning activities that utilised this setting. In 2019, I joined Santa Maria College, kindling a passion for STEM and Engineering subjects. Students excelled in real-world problem-solving, winning awards for prototypes. Designing the Year 11 General Human Biology course was fulfilling, catering to diverse learning pathways.

In 2022, I embraced a role as STEM Coordinator and Science Specialist at Iona Presentation College’s Junior School. Guiding students through hands-on STEM experiences was highly rewarding, especially a bionic limb project. I moved back at Santa Maria College in 2023 where I am teaching Science and leading the Beginner Woodwork program. I am amazed by the students’ practical skills. I’m thrilled to see the subject’s growth and look forward to advancing my career at Santa Maria College.

What inspired you to become a teacher?

My own school experience at Corpus Christi College inspired me to become a teacher. I had the pleasure of being taught by several quality educators, teachers who were both knowledgeable about their subject area and empathetic to the individual learning needs of each of their students. I thrived in subjects where my teacher acknowledged my strengths and encouraged me to engage in content through hands on learning experiences.

I have always been fascinated with learning about how the human body functions and wanted to share this passion through teaching. Understanding that a teacher can make a positive impact on the way a student feels about their own potential is what inspired me to become a teacher.

You teach two very different subjects, Science and Woodwork, what encouraged you to get involved in these areas?

I love practical based subjects, as personally, I learn best through hands on experiences.

Although both subjects are different, they are very similar in terms of the skills required. Science and Woodwork both require individuals to be capable of critical thinking, collaborate with others and use creativity to solve problems. I enjoy utilising my own skills in these areas to develop students’ confidence, capacity and knowledge; designing learning experiences that have a practical focus.

Science was one of my favourite subjects at school and I have always felt drawn to share my love for this subject with students. I grew up engaging in woodworking projects, learning new skills and building technical capacity with guidance from my dad. I am honoured to now share my passion for this subject with girls in Years 7 and 8. Believing that girls are capable of anything when given the opportunity to see it and do it.

How do you think your teaching areas influence each other in the classroom?

Both teaching areas require me to coordinate the safe use of tools, equipment and resources. I am experienced in managing lots of ‘moving parts’ during a lesson and have been able to further build my capacity in this area. Science and Woodwork are subjects where you can physically see students’ skills and develop students to become more confident and competent using the tools, equipment and resources available to them. It is so rewarding to witness this skill development as an educator.

Scaffolding instructions and clearly demonstrating practical skills is a pedogeological practice I have utilised teaching Science. I have been influenced to draw on these skills, applying them to a woodwork context this year.

What is your favourite part of being a teacher?

I love the beautiful students I teach; each student has a unique set of strengths and talents, and it is very rewarding to see these develop as an educator. My favourite part of being a teacher is having the opportunity to have a positive impact on students during their formative years. 

What do you like to do in your downtime outside of work?

I love walking with my husband exploring the natural bushland surrounding the river near where we live. We are currently in the process of building a new home. Selecting all the finishing details for the build has been exciting; however, it is taking up the majority of my downtime outside of work.

On weekends, I enjoy grabbing a coffee from my favourite local café and spending time catching up with my family and friends. To relax I spend time reading and crocheting.

Thank you, Lauren, for sharing your experiences with us. We are sure that your students appreciate your innovation and encouragement!

Shaping Future Leaders- Jennifer Oaten

At Santa Maria College, we believe that leadership is a journey of learning, not just a title or position. For over 80 years, our Year 12 students have been at the forefront of shaping our school’s culture through their leadership. As one cohort graduates and another takes the helm, the baton of leadership is passed, igniting the potential within each new group of young women.

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