Susannah Takes on Head of Maths Role in 2023

Susannah Daly has taken on the position of Head of Mathematics at Santa Maria for 2023. Susannah is also a past student, graduating from the College in 2003.

With her unique perspective as both an educator and a former pupil, Susannah is well-equipped to lead the mathematics department. To get to know her better and learn about her style of teaching, we sat down with Susannah and asked her a few questions. In this blog post, we’ll share her insights and perspectives on the exciting journey she’s embarking on as Head of Mathematics.

What inspired you to become a Maths Teacher?

My journey to becoming a teacher was not straightforward. My undergraduate degree was a Bachelor of Pharmacy, and while working full time in the community as a pharmacist, I came to realise teaching was my vocation. My teachers during my time as a student at Santa Maria were the inspiration for me to become a teacher. Not only my Maths teachers but my Chemistry, History and English Literature teachers showed a passion for their subjects and care for their students. Terry Ryan was one of my science teachers, and his wholehearted approach to teaching is something I aim to emulate.

Being a past student of Santa Maria, does that have an impact on you as a teacher?

I feel strongly connected to Santa Maria and what it means to be a Santa Maria student. My mum and aunties were weekly boarders at Santa Maria in the 1960s, My sister and I were both boarders, and my niece is now a boarder in Year 7. My experience impacts my teaching as I empathise with boarding students and the challenges they face in the classroom and being away from home.

Why did you apply for the position of Head of Mathematics?

The Maths Department at Santa Maria is expert in their knowledge, diverse in many ways and committed to the individual growth of their students. The opportunity to lead the team was my inspiration in applying for the position. Head of Mathematics is a role that encompasses so many parts of the College, with decisions reaching all students at some point in their Santa Maria journey.

What is your favourite mathematical concept to teach, and why?

My favourite mathematical concepts to teach are algebra in Year 7 and the application of percentages. I love teaching algebra because students are learning a new language in maths, and it is the gateway to so many bigger maths questions. It opens up a new way of thinking and problem-solving. I love teaching percentages for its real-world application, from finding the best buy while food shopping to buying a house.

How do you encourage students who struggle with math to keep trying?

This is a great question because I acknowledge that maths is a subject many students may feel anxiety towards and struggle with. I would encourage students to practice a growth mindset around maths and challenge their own negative beliefs about the subject. In practice, remind yourself that mistakes are an opportunity for brain growth and seek regular feedback from your teacher. Celebrate all the successes in maths, no matter how big or small. Shift the language used at home and any self-talk about maths to positive language, from “I can’t do this” to “I can’t do this yet”.

What do you like to do outside of teaching?

Outside of teaching, I like to read and travel. The next countries on my places to visit list are Scotland and South Korea.

What is something about you that might surprise people? Or a little-known fact about you?

A little-known fact about me is that I grew up playing in the Morawa District High School Brass Band and played the euphonium.

Thank you for sharing some of your story with us, Susannah.

In case our readers are wondering, we’ve Googled what a euphonium is for you.

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