Marnie Foster is Head of Languages at our senior campus in Stanmore. Ms Foster decided to move to Sydney to work at Newington as it is ‘a college that values language learning as part of holistic education. A place where great things have already been achieved but is still moving forward as it continues to try new things to provide even better experiences for students.’ When she’s not on campus sharing her love of language with students, you can find her dancing up a storm with her 20 years of experience in three different dance styles.
Read our Q&A with Ms Foster below where she shares with us some more information about herself and working at Newington.
Q: Why did you choose teaching as your profession?
A: I have wanted to be a teacher ever since I started school, I remember coming home at age 5 and saying to my parents that I want to be like my teacher one day. It never changed from that moment. I was blessed to have so many amazing teachers throughout my schooling. However, it wasn’t until Year 11 after going on a school trip to China that I decided I wanted to teach Chinese. After spending two weeks at a school in China, I knew that this was what I wanted to do with my life.
Q: What made you want to work at Newington?
A: I chose to move to Sydney to work at Newington because this is a college which values language learning as part of holistic education. A place where great things have already been achieved, but is still moving forward as we continue to try new things to provide even better experiences for students. Every day I get to work with a highly experienced and innovative team of teachers who strive to instil in their students a love of language learning and a broader world view. What more can I ask for?
Q: What makes the Languages Program at Newington unique?
A: The Languages Program at Newington is unique in that we offer 6 languages, which is becoming increasingly rare in Australian schools. Newington invests in its Languages program, examples of this are our beautiful themed rooms, the provision of conversation teachers to support students’ speaking and amazing opportunities for exchange and language tours.
Q: What is your most memorable teaching moment?
A: For me, the memorable moments are when I have realised that learning Chinese had changed one of my students for life, just like it did me so many years ago. When you see your own students go from just learning a language to discovering a whole new life that they can carve out for themselves, one that is only open to them because of knowing Chinese. One particular example was a student of mine who was learning Chinese in order to speak to her Grandma. I still remember the day she came into class after her first-ever proper conversation with her Grandma. That was pretty special knowing that I helped in that.
Q: What do you like to do when you’re not teaching?
A: My hobby is dancing, I have been dancing now for almost 20 years. I love all kinds of dancing and currently do 3 different styles of dance, doing between 4 and 7 hours per week. It is my exercise and stress release. I love the music of different countries, the costumes and the challenge of using muscles we just don’t use in everyday life. I’ve been fortunate to have some great opportunities to perform over the years and I love seeing the joy that it brings others.
Q: Do you have any interesting stories to share?
A: While studying at university in China, one of my most memorable experiences was travelling with a group of Japanese friends, we ended up in a village where they clearly hadn’t seen many, if any, westerners before because the whole village came out their houses and followed us, we ended up in a school where the students put on a performance for us and I ended up talking with a Year 7 girl who wanted to be an English teacher. We exchanged addresses and I ended up writing to her from that moment on, I got to see her go through high school and university. It was a great moment when I received photos of her graduation and watched her enter her first job. One of those amazing connections that can have an impact for a lifetime.
Another one was I actually appeared on Chinese national television in an international students competition, I acted, very poorly, as a young girl bringing home her new love to meet the parents. We won the regional round but didn’t win the final competition, it was so much fun. One of those moments where I stepped well and truly out of my comfort zone and had the best experience because of it.