Co-authors: Charlotte Wilson and Alexandra Fairfield-Smith (Year 7)

Snowy Mountains Grammar School is delighted to celebrate the career of Mrs Sue West.

Mrs West was born in Belmore, Sydney, and spent all her school years at PLC Sydney. She had an interesting journey to teaching. She began her university studies thinking that she would like to study medicine so she began her science degree, majoring in maths and statistics. She qualified as an actuary, but at the end of her university degree she also completed a diploma of education and she just so happened to be coming to Cooma to live, and when she wandered down the street, she happened to be offered a job in teaching. This was the beginning of Mrs West’s teaching career and the most successful and happiest time of her life.

Mrs West’s greatest achievement throughout her career of teaching was being given the opportunity to see so many students and to have the pleasure of assisting so many as they followed their dreams. Mrs West is a mathematics teacher and greatly enjoys her job. She considers herself to be a bit of a nerd as she simply enjoys numbers – she could never remember people’s names but she could easily remember their phone numbers. Mrs West’s enjoyment of mathematics started when she and her father played with numbers and this fuelled her passion for mathematics. Mrs West has been able to share this passion of numbers with lots of young people over the years.

What Mrs West most likes about teaching is the amount of time she gets to spend with young people. She really enjoys being a high school teacher as she likes to work with teenagers. She believes that children between the ages of twelve and eighteen are becoming the person that they are going to become when they are older. She feels very fortunate to be able to be a part of these students’ lives as they face the challenges, enjoy the successes and endure the stresses of their teenage years.

Mrs West has taught at multiple schools on the Monaro, including Monaro High School, St Patrick’s in Cooma, and of course Snowy Mountains Grammar School for the past nineteen years. She also taught in Malaysia for three years at ISKL, the International School in Kuala Lumpur. This was an interesting part of her teaching career.

Mrs West has been teaching for an amazing forty-six years.

When she isn’t teaching, Mrs West enjoys many passions, one of the most prominent being equestrian. She enjoys riding her trusty steed, Cody. She also adores all animals and living out on the land, where there is plenty of space. In former years, Mrs West loved partaking in a vast range of sporting activities, excelling in long-distance running. She also played a lot of tennis.

After Mrs West retires, she is least looking forward to not spending every day with lots of young people, as this is a highlight for her. She loves coming to school and spending time with the students and staff. However, she will certainly not miss the paperwork and deadlines.

Mrs West has some wise advice for teachers just starting their teaching careers. Her first piece of advice is to always respect your students. Always understand that every student in your care is an individual, and every student has feelings, just as you do. It is really important to work with them, not try to teach at them. Mrs West’s second piece of advice is to try to get to know your students outside the classroom, as together you can have such fun doing all different things, not just sitting in the classroom with a pen to paper or on computers.

Mrs West is an amazing teacher and person, who is an inspiration to all young people. We wish her all the best in her retirement.