Larissa Balson is our very hardworking Prep Coordinator—in fact, you might almost say she IS Prep at ICS! Let’s get to know her a bit better.
How long have you worked at Illawarra Christian School?
I was the first Prep teacher at both Illawarra Christian School and Calderwood Christian School (then ICS–Tongarra) in 2008. Before working at ICS, I was the Director of Auburn Baptist Church Preschool in Sydney, which was a preschool that mainly catered for new migrant and refugee families.
I initially came to work at ICS because I was moving to Wollongong to get married. I also wanted a new challenge and setting up a new service in a Christian school seemed like the right fit for me.
Tell us about yourself as a student. What did you want to be when you grew up?
I loved school and always couldn’t wait for school to go back after the holidays. I was a people-pleaser as a student and was always trying my best. I don’t think my childhood teachers would be surprised I ended up teaching. I also come from a family of teachers but when I was younger I used to tell my mum I wouldn’t be a teacher—I would be an occupational therapist or a nurse.
What would a perfect day would look like for you, if money (and reality!) was no object?
A perfect day for me would be either baking or decorating cake. I find that a great way to express myself creatively and I find it relaxing. Or another great day would be travelling to a city like New York and exploring it for the day.
Tell us about your first job and what it involved.
My first job was working in my dad’s office at the Department of Housing, doing data entry. I was made redundant due to budget cuts after four months!
What is it about teaching that you find most rewarding? What’s something that you find challenging?
The thing I find most rewarding about teaching is seeing how much children change. At ICS, my first Prep class are now in Year 9 and they have changed and grown so much over the years.
The most challenging part is not having enough time to do all the things I want to do, such as trying new ideas with the children.
What’s one thing that your students and their families would be surprised to discover about you?
I’m not very surprising but I do collect snow globes from around the world and I have over 100! My dad travels a lot so he always gets me new ones from the places he goes.