Kristal Grace: From Corporate Career to the Classroom
In this blog we chat with Kristal Grace, a dedicated educator who transitioned from a thriving corporate career to the enriching world of teaching Humanities & Social Sciences. Join us as we delve into Kristal’s journey.
Tell us a bit about your background prior to coming to Santa Maria College
I spent the first half of my life growing up in Melbourne and my thirst for learning was sparked by a number of wonderful teachers. In Years 11 and 12 I attended boarding school, which I loved, as it enabled me to balance my academic studies, music (tenor saxophone) and sport (netball and rowing).
My passion for education and learning have driven me to complete several degrees, including Bachelor of Arts majoring in psychology and sociology, a Gradate Diploma of Psychology, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and most recently a Graduate Diploma of Education with a teaching major in psychology and minor in history.
I pursued a corporate career before moving into teaching and I held a diverse range of roles, ranging from human resources and market at GM Holden Ltd, to marketing at PwC Australia and Executive Office for the Council for International Student of Western Australia.
When did you decide to become a teacher and what inspired this change in direction from corporate to teaching?
It was the combination of my love of learning, my corporate experience and reaching a stage in my life that giving back became a priority that led me to teaching. The decision to become a teacher, literally, was made overnight. I knew I wanted to give back to society, share my love of learning and I felt I had a lot to give to the younger generation. I just knew teaching was what I wanted to do. I did make a few phone calls to my brother and cousins who are all teachers to hear about their experiences and the one thing that shone through was just how rewarding teaching is.
What do you love about teaching Humanities & Social Sciences and how do you keep the topic relevant and interesting for your students?
I am passionate about Humanities & Social Sciences (HASS). HASS provides me with the opportunity to teach across four different subject areas (history, politics and law, geography and economics) but within these subjects I am able to develop students’ skills of questioning and reasoning, analysing and evaluating and communicating. Being able to draw upon my real-world experience means that I am able to provide practical examples to support theoretical concepts and I also aim to create an environment where students are willing to share their stories.
What do you love most about being a teacher?
I love the students. I can be having an off day and when I walk up to the classroom and see the girls, they bring a smile to my face. I enjoy making lessons engaging and relevant to each of the year levels I teach, which can be challenging at times as economics can be conceptually difficult to grasp. Seeing the development of students learning over a period of time is very rewarding and knowing my students will understand the business segment of the news because of what we have covered in class is awesome.
Tell us about your experience at Everest Base Camp?
Wow, what an experience! Whilst I wasn’t very diligent with training prior to the trek (I went for a few walks with my pack and climbed a few stairs) and I am not sure any amount of training could have prepared me. The altitude was challenging, as was the cold and the steep steps. However, like many times in life, when things get tough you just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other and push on.
On the fifteenth day, after trekking across glaciers and through snow, myself and three other members of my mother’s group reached Base Camp at an altitude of 5360 metres. Whilst Base Camp was the aim, it was the experiences we had over the course of the three weeks (it took seven days to trek back to Lukla and fly to Kathmandu), that made the adventure memorable.
What do you enjoy doing outside the classroom?
I enjoy gardening, reading and netball. Last night I was busy in the garden planting Summerscent trees hoping they will establish themselves before the summer heat sets in and I finished the fourth book in the Thursday Murder Club series. Tonight, I’m off to netball.
Thank you for sharing your story with us Kristal. We are glad you made the decision to move from the corporate world into education. The Santa Maria community certainly benefits from your experience, dedication and knowledge.