“Education is the most important thing. Do the best you can, so that when you finish, you think ‘I couldn’t have done any better’. Then you have no regrets.”
Nadege is a French and English Language teacher, who has been working at Bendigo Senior Secondary College since 2020. Before moving to the college, she taught in the United Kingdom, and then worked at an all-girls school in Port Melbourne.
Her favourite thing about Australia (aside from the beautiful weather) is that students here are made responsible for their grades, and teachers are allowed to teach in the way they prefer.
“We can be creative and try new things,” Nadege says. “There is more freedom for us, and for students.”
When her partner landed an IT position in Australia, Nadege quickly made the decision to move.
“At the time, I was working about 75 hours a week,” she says. “From my perspective, the British educational system wasn’t teaching, it was training students for exams.
“The pressure we had to put on them was enormous. It wasn’t teaching and it wasn’t learning. I was burnt out.”
Brexit also aided her decision to move down under, as anti-immigration mindsets became more prevalent in the UK and began to affect her due to her French heritage.
“I really care about respect,” Nadege says. “We have to treat each other with decency. No one has the right to treat another person in a dismissive manner—no matter where they come from.”
Armed with a degree in English as a Second Language and a post graduate degree in Education (French and Italian), Nadege is a much-appreciated addition to the LOTE and English staff at the college.
If she could, she would add beginner courses for languages so that VCE students can pick up a new language in the last years of school. She also wishes that more languages were available in schools in regional Victoria to give students the full experience of learning another language, immersing themselves in another culture, and becoming global citizens.
When asked who her greatest inspiration is, she reverently replied, “My mum and grandma”.
“My mum always told me education was the most important thing,” she recalls. “Do the best you can, so that when you finish, you have no regret. Be proactive and do your very best.”
Echoing this sentiment of resilience, she adds, “My grandmother went through two wars. She was a fighter.”
Another inspiration was her Year 8 English teacher, Ms Ricard.
“She was French and married to an Englishman,” Nadege remembers. “She was very stylish and had such a passion for what she was doing.
“As teachers, we are given a wonderful opportunity to form relationships with others and have an impact in their lives.”
This is definitely something Nadege exemplifies in her own teaching style.
Put simply, Nadege’s advice is to try your hardest, know your limits, but constantly push them. Don’t put yourself in a position that makes you look back on your actions with regret.
Be proud of yourself and what you’ve achieved.
Profile: Amelia Bailey
Photography: Annie Claxton