Here is the first in a series of profiles featuring BSSC staff, written by Student Leadership Team (SLT) President, Amelia Bailey, with photography by SLT Secretary, Annie Claxton. The inaugural staff profile is Psychology teacher, Cassy White.
A dedicated Psychology teacher, Cassy White has been working at Bendigo Senior Secondary College for four years and says she is now at the point where she feels comfortable in her role as a teacher.
Midway through last year she took up teaching role at NETschool, a place she describes as “absolutely wonderful”.
Cassy’s favourite thing about the college is its diversity.
“I love that in my classes I have Year 11s working with Year 12s,” she says. “I have people from different schools, different towns, and I’m able to create an environment that brings everyone together.
“It’s a great preparation for university and life beyond secondary school. It gives students a two-year experience where they learn how to get along with different people and socialise with people from all kinds of backgrounds.”
When asked why she wanted to become a teacher, Cassy immediately replies, “Because of a teacher here.”
Cassy is a BSSC Alumna, who came to the college initially interested in becoming a hairdresser. She describes “drifting” through Year 11, then studying Psychology in Year 12, becoming passionate about school and teaching.
The teacher who turned things around for Cassy was Bronnie Bishop—now a colleague on the Psychology teaching team.
“Bronnie inspired me to ‘wing it’,” Cassy’s remembers. “She influenced my decision to go to the University of Ballarat and study a joint Bachelor of Arts and Education, specialising in Psychology.
“I couldn’t imagine my life not being a teacher.”
Cassy describes the growth that occurred during her teaching rounds. Having first been a little apprehensive about attending university, she realised that she carried the skills—talking to people and getting to know them—vital for any teacher.
As well as being a committed teacher, Cassy is also a mum—a role which takes up most of her time outside school. While she doesn’t have much of an opportunity right now to pursue other hobbies or interests, Cassy definitely doesn’t feel like she’s missing out.
“This is what I’ve always wanted to be,” she says. “I’m living the dream.”
Her most inspirational figure is her five-year-old daughter, due to the way that she handled the changes and difficulties of last year.
“She’s just been so strong,” Cassy says. “She’s seen me go through hard times as well, and she has a level of emotional intelligence and maturity far beyond her years. Seeing how she’s dealt with everything has touched my heart.”
Asked what advice she would offer to others, Cassy is quick to respond.
“Fake it till you make it,” she says. “I’m pretty proud of this because I’ve had to live it— throughout my placement, throughout my first year of teaching, throughout motherhood.
“Sometimes you just have to pretend you know that whatever you’re doing is right. If you feel a sense of pseudo-confidence, you will eventually feel real confidence.”
She also says that you should be okay with feeling uncomfortable, because that will happen in every domain of your life.
“It allows you to sit, reflect, feel it and acknowledge it,” Cassy says. “Progressing to a place where you can deal with the situation is much better than pushing the discomfort away. It’s an opportunity to get out of your comfort zone.”
Finally, Cassy cites the importance of coming to class and teaching “as you are”—something that’s appreciated by many of her current and past students.
She is well known for sharing videos of her children in class (often related to the Psychology study design), allowing for an intersection between her life in and outside of school—showing how passionate she is about her roles as a teacher and mother, and how much she values genuine interaction with her students.