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Maths teacher and mother-of-three is a multi-tasking Masters student

Christine Harmer is the Numeracy Coordinator at Mackillop College (Formerly St Paul's High School) in Port Macquarie and a Master of Theology student with The Broken Bay Institute and The University of Newcastle.

Christine Harmer with kids

The mother-of-three was recently awarded the 2015 Mary Ward Grant, which was established to promote the dignity and role of women in church and society and supports specialist or post-graduate study in theology, spirituality and pastoral ministry.

“It’s so expensive to do any sort of study at a university level now,” Christine said “especially since I’m only just returning to full time work this year, so the grant is really helping to lessen the financial burden on my family.”

Christine has enjoyed returning to study, knowing it would help her career prospects and studies one subject each semester online from her home in Port Macquarie. “It’s important for my children and my students to see the value that I place on education, particularly as a teacher. I embrace the challenge of studying whilst balancing a career and family, and hope to be a role model for young women – most especially my daughter.”

Before starting a family, Christine completed her Bachelor of Education at the University of Sydney with a major in Mathematics and minor in History. “That was one of the other reasons I chose Theology, because I’d studied the reformation period in modern European history and was comfortable writing essays.”

Christine Harmer and husband Darren

As her study is supported by the Catholic Schools Office, Christine is also given two days release during the semester. “I was surprised how little of 

my time study took away from the kids as I’ve become more effective with my time. If the kids are on play dates in the holidays, that’s when I make myself study.”

Christine still manages to find the time to go walking every morning and enjoys cooking, playing netball and going out for dinner with friends in her spare time. “I thought I would have to study a lot on weekends but I found I could just do the readings at night and do my writing on days when I don’t have the kids. So far it’s been good. I’ve even toyed with the idea of doing an extra unit over the holidays!”

Christine is currently doing the compulsory subjects for the Master of Theology and then hopes to specialise in Liturgy.

“I enjoy the creativity of liturgy and I think it will be helpful to further my career in a coordinator role. It’s also important that the students enjoy liturgy and take something away from it.”

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