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Ms Caroline Cooper – From Art Teacher to Residential Boarding Supervisor

Ms Caroline Cooper has been teaching Art at our School for the last 12 years. Known for her quirky style and creative flair, she has also worked as a Residential Boarding Supervisor for the last 12 months. She has loved being involved in Boarding and has made the difficult decision to give up classroom teaching to focus on her new role in Boarding. Ms Cooper reflects on her teaching career and her reasons for her decision. 

I love art because art allows me to play, explore, discover, and experiment. Art allows me to disappear into the canvas or clay, create, express myself, be unconventional and be totally random.  

I think my love of art has always been there. I have always been amazed and curious about how artists create such wonderful artworks that tell stories about different places, people, life around us and beyond us. I am also in awe of how artists slap on paint to create an explosion of colour and how sculptors can manipulate different materials to bring clay to life. 

When I was little, I always wanted to be a teacher, or an astronaut, thanks to the 1969 moon landing, or an actor and even a policewoman. But I love showing people how to do things and make stuff, so I knew teaching was where my path lay. 

My first teaching post was at Thornlie Senior High School in 1986 for 12 months. That was a learning curve. I then spent the next 23 years at Newton Moore High School and loved it. Near the end of the school year, a fellow teacher mentioned a position opening up at Bunbury Grammar and I was encouraged to go for it. I remember turning up for the interview, driving into the school grounds thinking “Oh! I do not think you are going to fit in here.” Later I got a phone call and was offered the position. I was shocked and elated and terrified. However, I was so happy I had applied for the role, and I have loved teaching here since. Staff and students are awesome – I am still getting used to students saying thank you as they leave the art room! 

The opportunities at this School have certainly refreshed my teaching mojo as well. Joining the Round Square Committee – planning and taking students on overseas service projects to Bali, Cambodia, and Thailand. Being accepted as a deputy leader on two Round Square International Big Projects to Vietnam and Borneo, were just Wow! Plus, working with students from this school and other schools from different countries has been awe-inspiring.  

Teaching is something I always wanted to do but I felt it was time to move outside the classroom/studio and start another journey. Boarding is that other journey that has so many layers that I would like to learn more about and focus my time on. I have lots of ideas but not the time – so it was a very hard decision to leave teaching, but it is time to do new things. 

I am looking forward to working with the Boarding staff and Boarders – looking at different ideas, like public art projects and community service opportunities. I would also like to explore the possibility of night school at Bunbury Grammar – running workshops for the Grammar community – making connections. 

I feel so grateful that I have had the privileged to work, create, experience, work with extraordinary, amazing, passionate and talented people and I have taught some many wonderful creative young people. Go forth and be random! 


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