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Dance teacher’s steps to success

A local high school performing arts teacher is hoping to show her students anything is possible after being named a finalist at the WA Training Awards.

St Mary’s College head of arts and technologies, Vicki Thompson, pictured, was one of four nominees for WA Trainer of the Year.

Mrs Thompson said it was a bit crazy to be named a finalist and having the focus be on her work.

“A lot of the other awards I had won had focused on the achievements of my students under my program, whereas this one was really putting my work and my program under the microscope,” she said.

“It was really introspective and it really made me think about everything I do and why I do what I do.

“As teachers we don’t often get the opportunity to look at ourselves, we’re always looking out for the students and getting the best out of the students.

“It felt really cathartic to really think about why I do what I do.”

While she is known for being the dance teacher at St Mary’s College, Mrs Thompson has spent the past year developing her skills in other aspects of the arts, spurred on by a visual arts teacher and an IT teacher leaving the college.

“We had a few new teachers come in to replace them but they needed someone to mentor them and I thought ’I’m the learning area co-ordinator, I should be able to know the different aspects of the arts and technologies department to help these new teachers’,” she said.

“I’ve taken up a photography course and and I know a little bit about IT but the visual art, I knew nothing about so I took up a printing and textile course at North Regional TAFE.

“I always thought I couldn’t draw but it wasn’t until I actually started doing it that I realised I could do it.

“I was so used to drawing stick figures for choreography notes and making fascinators.

“It made me realise I can transfer the knowledge I have in dance into other areas like visual art and textiles and I really want my students to know that after high school you become lifelong learners. Even after 25 years of teaching, I am still learning new things and it’s very exciting.”

Mrs Thompson will not be the only one representing the Kimberley at the WA Training Awards, with Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services and North Regional TAFE being nominated for WA Small Training Provider of the Year and Large Training Provider of the Year respectively.

The WA Training Awards ceremony takes place in Perth on Friday, where the winners will automatically qualify for the Australian Training Awards. The national winners are announced in Brisbane on November 21.

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