Teacher Feature – Alanna Raymond, the Narragunnawali Team
Tell us about yourself.
I am a proud Aboriginal Australian from the Tiwi Islands on my dad’s side and Aussie on my mum’s side. I’ve grown up and gone to school and university off Country, on the beautiful lands of the Guringai people here on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. I achieved my childhood dream of becoming a primary teacher in 2013, and have loved teaching in Queanbeyan on Ngunnawal Country for the last six years. During this time I was also lucky enough to be the Secretary of my local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group. As a passionate educator and proud Aboriginal Australian, I am humbled and excited to have the opportunity to be a part of the Narragunnawali team and the wider Reconciliation Australia community working towards reconciliation in all aspects of life.
What inspired you to work at Reconciliation Australia’s Narragunnawali team?
The statement that “reconciliation is everyone’s business” intrinsically underpins and inspires my everyday life, my role as a teacher, my journey with Reconciliation Australia, and specifically working with the Narragunnawali team. I had the pleasure of meeting many of the team members when my school was honoured in receiving the inaugural Narragunnawali Award for the schools category in 2017. I am humbled to have the opportunity to work alongside the extensively knowledgeable, experienced and passionate educators in the Narragunnawali team, to lead and facilitate positive change surrounding reconciliation in education at all levels, and I’m excited to continue my love of learning in this new space.
Why is it important to celebrate achievements in reconciliation in education?
Celebrating achievement is always a joy. The achievements in reconciliation in education of all stakeholders – including students, teachers, parents and community members – can be celebrated in a variety of ways that range from formal awards ceremonies to smaller, more everyday acknowledgements. Both are equally valuable in any educational setting. One of the proudest moments of my career was representing our school at the Narragunnawali Awards 2017, and accepting our award on behalf of all the passionate individuals who have worked together over many years on our school’s ongoing reconciliation journey. I am always inspired to hear young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples express how proud they are of their heritage in everyday situations inside and outside the classroom.
What is your advice for teachers who wish to celebrate reconciliation in education?
Always remember to look for and celebrate the small wins. Seemingly small efforts by all stakeholders add up to grand collaborative achievements in the bigger picture of reconciliation in the education context. Educational settings are unique environments designed to allow all students to learn, explore their identity and express themselves in a culturally safe and supportive place, and I would love for all teachers to remember just how important their role is in the lives of every child they teach.