Staff Spotlight – Rebecca Godfrey

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A St Mary’s College alumna from the class of 2000, Rebecca Godfrey returned to the College in 2024 to join our teaching staff. Rebecca is an active and passionate member of the SMC community through her involvement as a current parent (mum to Isabelle in Year 5) and the newly appointed president of the St Mary’s College Alumni Committee.

What do you teach at St Mary’s College? 

I teach Year 9 Maths, 9/10 Science and a Marine and Antarctic Science class. I started my career in education in 2022, and prior to that, I was a mechanical engineer, having worked across a number of companies including TasWater and Hydro Tasmania, to name a few.

What initially sparked your interest in STEM (have you always enjoyed maths and science-related subjects)? 

Interestingly, it started when I was a student in Year 9 or 10. I missed a lot of school in Year 8 due to being quite unwell, and I credit my enduring interest in maths to one particular SMC teacher at the time—Mr David Thomson. He was a major source of encouragement and support during this challenging period of my life. He pushed me to keep going when things felt overwhelming and saw that I could reach my full potential in the subject.

In Year 12, I studied physics and chemistry. I had a keen interest in Forensic Science, but a few roadblocks got in the way of me studying this is at university. Ultimately, my love of physical science led me down the engineering pathway. I was an engineer for eight or nine years before things changed in 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic and shift to online (remote) learning. With two young children at the time (in Year 4 and Year 1), I suddenly found myself becoming very familiar with the curriculum and I enjoyed finding extra tasks to support their at-home learning. I ended up taking on some tutoring work during this time, and after a lot of ‘umming and ahhing’, I jumped into teaching—and am loving it.

What do you most enjoy about teaching students these subjects? 

It’s all about the little successes—those small ‘wins’ that boost confidence and build momentum; when a student thinks they don’t know how to do something and then realise that they, in fact, can. Watching the discovery process play out and seeing students making those connections is really gratifying.

How do you hope to inspire the ‘next generation’ to make a career out of STEM and/or improve the representation of women in the field?

I hope to bring some of my external experience into the classroom. All my students know that I was an engineer—daggy photos included! I’m really passionate about encouraging more students with an interest in STEM to consider engineering careers and pathways towards tertiary engineering studies.

A lot of students (and people in the community more generally) are unaware of what exactly an engineer does. There’s a common misconception that mechanical engineers just do a lot of physical work on the tools. While this can be true, the role itself is much broader than that; there are elements of drawing and design, calculating measurements, specifying different materials, project management and dealing with stakeholders. Working in engineering can be really dynamic, creative and challenging.

I also hope to bridge the gap between school and industry and enhance learning outcomes for students by connecting them with industry mentors and other positive role models. There are quite a few female engineers out there if you look for them!

What has been your biggest influence as an educator? 

Many SMC teachers have influenced me in a professional sense—Mrs Rootes, in particular, was an incredibly supportive mentor for me when I started teaching. Also, one of our past principals, Sr Ona, is a major inspiration to this day. She was a very big support to me and my family when I was unwell; she went above and beyond the call of duty for us. Sr Ona instilled values in me that have shaped me, personally and professionally. Like Sr Ona, if ever I see a need in Maths or Science, I hope I make my students feel supported and inspired.

You’re a familiar face around the College as a current parent, past student and president of the St Mary’s College Alumni Committee. What was it like returning to teach at your alma mater?

The most fascinating thing about returning to SMC was having access to the old convent building (which was strictly off limits to students). It was also an interesting experience finding my way around the College—there have been a lot of changes to the buildings since my time as a student. Funnily enough, my Pastoral Care room today was once my English classroom and Lorise (Mrs Clark) was my English teacher!

Wearing a few different hats [as a current parent, teacher, President of the St Mary’s College Alumni Committee] has given me a wider perspective of the College community and a deeper appreciation for how SMC shows up for my child.

Do you have a favourite memory of your time as an SMC student?

Year 12 was a standout year for me.

What were you like as a student? 

Really nerdy!

What is your wish for students this year? 

To be happy, confident learners.


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St Mary's College is located on the traditional lands of the muwinina people of the South East Nation. We acknowledge and deeply respect the palawa people, the Tasmanian Aboriginal Community, and all Elders past and present. We are committed to learning alongside our students and community in this place, nipaluna, and support the continued sharing of knowledge and culture.