SO… loves the opportunity to discover inspiring professional women in education. Teachers are richly valued for their service and sacrifice. Mariel is a game-changer to the industry by shaping young men and women of Western Sydney at an important stage of their lives.
She is equally passionate about sports and her love for the game blossomed at a young age through the positive influence of her dad.
We’re excited to share Mariel’s story with you as she represents a new breed of young teachers who are instrumental in making a difference. Let’s discover the inspiration behind her active lifestyle, how she is able to relax away from work and her future aspirations!
Bev: First things first, tell us a little bit about yourself. What are you passionate about?
Mariel: I am a high school teacher, momentarily working as a casual teacher at an all-boys school. The school is known for being the leading feeder school for Australian football in NSW, so generally my students are enthused and are focused on their sporting.
I am genuinely passionate about teaching high school students. I’m not just saying that. These young men and women are going through a chapter in their lives where their views, ideals, personalities, and intellectual abilities are malleable. It is such a crucial stage of any person’s life. And, if you ask me, our high school experiences stick to us, they are hardly to never forgotten! So this is the opportune time to stamp goodness, beauty, and truth to these young people, while giving them the freedom to make their own decisions and take responsibility for their actions.
Anyway, going back to the question, I am passionate about education in all forms, at every stage of a person’s life, but mostly at the high school stage for the reasons mentioned above. I am also a sports fanatic. I don’t really follow news on sports. What I mean is that I love almost all sports. I love playing different sports and always want to learn how to play whatever sport that is introduced to me at every opportunity. I think of myself as an all-rounder. I can play, if not learn to play, any sport but I have never excelled. It’s a good way of humbling myself when I get competitive! Haha.
I look at sport as a means to keep fit as well. I’m not a gym junkie but I do believe in regular exercise. Going to the gym for me is such an effort because it’s not really enjoyable, in my opinion. Sport is fun, enjoyable, with or without friends, and you also get to sweat a little!
BB: What influence has your family had with leading an active lifestyle?
MC: My dad was very influential when I was younger. I used to play competitive tennis and my dad was my coach. He was a part-time tennis coach who taught schools and gave private lessons as well. He loves his tennis. He wasn’t too strict on leading an ‘active lifestyle’, he was just focused on getting my footwork right, perfecting my techniques, and getting the points. I remember having an ice cream with him after every training session. Basically, we could eat whatever we want as long as we played tennis well.
From that experience I think is when I fell in love with ‘training’, with working out, the adrenaline you have when you push your body to move with intensity. I felt exhausted but at the time fresh and mentally awake, if that makes sense.
BB: What were your interests to growing up in school? How do you keep active today?
MC: Besides tennis I really enjoyed volleyball, basketball and table tennis. When I was in university I enjoyed touch football, soccer, skating, running, and Zumba. Nowadays I try to work out at least 15 minutes every other day. I watch crossfit training videos on YouTube and follow that. If I have time I would work out for half an hour or go for a run or a swim. During the colder months swimming is not really an option for me. Haha.
BB: We admire that you have been involved in sports throughout school and now as a young professional. What motivated you to pursue this?
MC: A few things. As mentioned earlier, I find being involved in sports is a means to stay fit. Besides that, I think it is also a good way to socialise with friends and a way to wind down, de-stress, and relax. As a young professional, particularly as a high school teacher, I tend to overwork and stress myself a little too much. So it’s been suggested to me to exercise regularly and it does help me to de-stress. I highly recommend it.
BB: What are some valuable life lessons that you have learned through this experience?
MC: To take the time to relax! I know that often we get caught up with work and other commitments, and it’s very difficult to pause our working mind when it’s running a million miles per hour. But trust me, you get more things done, and done well, when you find the time to relax.
Relaxing doesn’t mean doing nothing or being idle, it means doing things that require less effort and are enjoyable. In my opinion, exercising is the best way to relax. Working out in itself is not relaxing. It’s the effect after you’ve worked out. You feel fresh, mentally awake, you feel accomplished for not being a couch potato and you feel better about yourself!
BB: As a committed high school teacher, is there anyone in particular that you look up to? What qualities do you admire most about them?
MC: I know a few school principals whose qualities I do admire. I don’t know if I’ll be a principal, but maybe one day. I admire the way they treat their students and their staff. I know of one principal who spent most of his time on playground duty to chat with the students during lunch time. He showed interest in each person he conversed with. In my time at his school, he gave his time to me and other student teachers for individual mock interviews. He said that it would help us prepare for potential job interviews in the future. I really appreciated that.
BB: What advice would you like to personally share to young girls and women interested in pursuing teaching?
MC: Come prepared. Come to the classroom prepared, and come to the profession prepared. If you are pursuing teaching, you have to be prepared to work and know what you’re getting into. I don’t mean knowing exactly what the job entails, I mean knowing that it will be hard work. You should come in the job prepared to receive feedback, that not all lessons will be perfect, and that there will be students that will test you. Knowing the content and professionalism is another thing. If you should know just one thing in pursuing this career path, in my humble opinion, is that you have to be fair in the classroom. You have to be firm in your dealing with the class, but caring in dealing with each student. Truly care about your students and their learning. Even if sometimes you have to discipline them accordingly, they’ll know it’s tough love. Kids are smart. They know if you like them or not and will reciprocate.
BB: What are your future plans, hopes and dreams? Final message.
MC: My future plans, hopes and dreams? Wow, big question. Professionally, I plan to teach for as long as I can, I hope to stay fit and healthy, and I dream to be a school principal, whilst staying fit and healthy. I think that’s it in a nutshell.