Teacher Profile | Deb Cumming

Deb Cumming

Head of Careers and VET Coordinator

“…they never cease to amaze, although at times you can despair!, the next minute/day/month, your faith is always restored for the future.”

Warragul Campus

Deb is responsible for providing up to date information on courses, apprenticeships and careers, advising students and parents of career possibilities, opportunities, pathways, individual career research and planning, subject selection and how it relates to various higher education courses, and introducing various careers that students may not be aware of, the list is endless!

This is Deb’s third year working at St Paul’s but she has been a part of the St Paul’s family for many, many years. Deb originally helped with the School Productions in the early days of the School – two of the most memorable to her were ‘The Mikado’ and ‘Barnum’. She was then a parent of the School when her three children were students at St Paul’s. Deb’s husband Gary is also a teacher at St Paul’s and started teaching at the School in the early ’90s.

Deb started teaching in Gippsland in primary education in the classroom, Years Prep – 6 and then worked as a music specialist in a few different primary schools. After many years she transferred to secondary education and worked as a Music classroom teacher for Years 7 – 11, as well as teaching VCE Dance. She also instigated school productions, a school choir and band and conducted both for many years. After a number of years Deb went back to her love of English and taught English Years 9 – 11 and VCAL classes.

We asked Deb a few questions about her teaching…

What do you like most about St Paul’s?

“The layout of the Warragul Campus keeps me fitter than I otherwise would be! What I like about St Paul’s is the students and their enthusiasm for learning and the opportunity to work with students across both of the campuses as each is different in their own way – there is never a dull moment! Also, the St Paul’s Alumni. It’s lovely to be able to hear from Alumni members from years past and to share their stories – the Alumni is a wonderful part of the St Paul’s school community.”

What subjects are you most passionate about and why?

“Careers! It’s very rewarding being part of the conversation with students to ascertain their interests and skills and ideas they have for the future. And to be able to gather information to open horizons that they may have never thought of. It’s really important to find the right pathway for ‘now’ – whatever that might be – it’s an individual choice – and ‘one-size’ does definitely not fit all. Getting creative to get students to where they want to go is exciting!  I still have a particular love for any of the Performing Arts and English subjects though, as that is my background.”

And finally, what do you enjoy most about being a teacher? 

“The students! A cliché I realise but really, that is what it is all about. I am always surprised by something a student does or says that can be inspiring, insightful, hilarious, soulful – they never cease to amaze. And although at times you can ‘despair’(!), the next minute/day/month, your faith is always restored for the future.”

Deb says that she enjoys the fact that success is all the students’ own doing (with guidance from the rest of us – family and teachers). “It is a wonderful moment when you can witness a student reach their dream goal or alternatively find a niche that comes as a big surprise. Many students have inspired me with their tenacity to get where they want to go and also their openness to suggestions when they have no idea of what they want to do.”

Outside of work Deb loves to read and is never without a novel on the go. And of course her family plays a huge part in her life out of school with three beautiful grandchildren. “I love travelling overseas – and really anywhere in Australia – and in another life, the idea of the old ‘Grand Tour’ of Europe would have been my ultimate goal!  To live on a canal boat for a few years in France – now that would be wonderful!”

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