Dr Patsy Norton, St Ursula’s Alumni
Patsy’s dedication to education is a golden achievement
Patsy Norton is in the College’s history books as the first full-time lay teacher on staff, though her association with St Ursula’s commenced much earlier.
Patsy’s mother, Heather, attended St Ursula’s as a student, as did Patsy’s older sister, Gweneth, before her. When Patsy enrolled in 1955, the College grounds were well and truly a familiar sight.
“My fondest memory is of playing sport, particularly Netball, and being a Captain of the Reds in my final two years; both the teamwork and leadership experience were incredibly valuable.”
“Academic learning was always a focus, and my favourite subject was English, with inter-school Debating a related interest.”
“My standout memory is the quality of the teaching provided, particularly by Sr Rosa, who taught all my subjects in the final two years, including Physics, Chemistry, English, Maths I and II, and French; her intellectual ability was inspiring.”
Despite the quality of her teachers, Patsy never aspired to be an Educator herself; rather, a Vet or a Journalist.
“There was considerable support given by the teachers and my parents that being female was no barrier to career choices.”
“I started my career as a Primary teacher in 1968, at Yeppoon State Primary School, then Baralaba State School, before I accepted a role at St Ursula’s in 1970 as a Secondary teacher.”
Patsy’s passion over her years of study is the teaching of English and Literacy learning strategies and, based in South-East Queensland, her focus is now on research, by both teachers and students, rather than on classroom teaching.
This follows years of full-time teaching in Primary, Secondary and Tertiary contexts and utilises her study – over approximately 50 years – which includes a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Education, a Master of Education, and a Doctorate in Education.
Patsy gained all her Tertiary qualifications while teaching full-time, and believes the emphasis of both her parents and the Presentation Sisters, on the value of hard work and education, had an impact.
Currently employed as a Master Teacher, and in her 50th year of teaching, Patsy presented a paper titled ‘Enabling high functioning students with autism to write coherent text’ at an international conference organised by International Study Association for Teachers and Teaching (ISATT) in Sibiu, Romania, in July 2019.
Patsy enjoys reading, exercise, and obedience training her German Shepherd, as well as gardening, and spends her downtime with family, especially her daughter and grandson.