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Humans of St John’s

Wed, 15/04/2020Posted by:

Welcome to the next edition of Humans of St John’s featuring College Psychologist, Rebecca Wright. Hear from Rebecca as she shares with us her journey from the remote community of the Tiwi Islands to St John’s.

I grew up on a dairy farm in the Goomburra Valley, just outside of Warwick. After attending school in Allora and Warwick, I went to Griffith University to study Psychology. Following my graduation I moved back to Warwick to work as a psychologist at BUSHkids, a not-for-profit organisation which supports the health and wellbeing of children and families in regional, rural and remote Queensland.

I spent eight years enjoying life in this rural town, participating in local events such as the Jumpers and Jazz in July and community sports including tennis, table-tennis, touch football, hockey and squash. While I was working at BUSHkids, I studied postgraduate qualifications in Teaching and Learning to qualify as a Secondary English and History teacher. I then taught at Warwick State High School for 18 months.

I love to travel and explore the world, so a sea change was in store for me when I accepted a teaching/counselling position at Xavier Catholic College in the remote community of the Tiwi Islands in 2017 (north of Darwin in the Arafura Sea). Through this experience, I learnt a lot about Tiwi culture including hunting, painting, dancing, Tiwi language and traditions. I am grateful for the relationships I formed with the local Tiwi people and the way they welcomed me to their country. A highlight of my time on the Tiwi Islands was meeting Ash Barty while she was there running a tennis clinic. I spent two years there and experienced multiple cyclone warnings whilst living, fishing and enjoying the challenges of life in a remote community.

After the Tiwi Islands, it was time to move back closer to family in South East Queensland. I was drawn to St John’s, recognising a strong sense of community here which is something I value. St John’s, being a Kindy to Year 12 College, also suited my skill set having previously worked in both primary and secondary school contexts and with students across the developmental spectrum. Something I particularly love about St John’s is the many unique opportunities that are presented to students such as the Antipodeans trips, musicals, community service opportunities, the MYP and PYP programs, sports, languages, and music opportunities!

I have been working at St John’s since the start of 2019. Within my role, the wellbeing of our community is the priority, this includes students, families and staff.  St John’s understands that to achieve our best in all facets of life, one needs to be mentally well. As part of my job, I counsel and implement evidence-based strategies with students, consult with families, facilitate peer mediation, support staff and teach pro-social behaviours.

During this current time of pandemic, based on the Australian Psychological Society, my general advice is:

  • take reasonable precautions (e.g. wash your hands, avoid touching your nose and mouth)
  • practise self-care (e.g. maintain social connections online or via phone, exercise, eat well, sleep, relax)
  • keep things in perspective – it can be easy to focus on the worst-case scenario, but instead try to ask yourself some gentle questions: am I overestimating how bad the consequences will be? Am I underestimating my ability to cope?.

During the term time, I am available to talk to and provide support to students and families. I am passionate about my role here at St John’s as I love assisting students to find their inner strength to cope with whatever life throws at them.