An inspiring memoir about passion, music and community within a remote outback town, from the winner of the 2020 ARIA Award for Music Teacher of the Year.
This red dirt, it takes a hold of you. The blue skies, the sunsets, the starry nights, the river... Country holds onto you. Then you meet the people. Within one week of living in Wilcannia, I had signed up to stay until the end of the year.
When Sarah Donnelley left Sydney to take up a teaching post in Wilcannia, a small town two hours east of Broken Hill, she had no idea what to expect. Determined to shrug off Wilcannia's rumoured reputation for danger and dysfunction, she threw herself into her new role. Four fulfilling years later, Sarah is an active member of a rich, complex school community that is transforming the idea of a conventional classroom experience.
Making deep connections with Indigenous elders and local families, Sarah has focused her teaching practice on empowering, listening and creating space for respectful conversations. She takes her students out on Country as often as she can, enlisting aunties and uncles in the community to share their wisdom - everything from hunting for emu eggs and cutting canoes from trees to working with local artists and learning the history of the river.
Big Things Grow is a powerful memoir about community, music and passion, laying bare the beauty and challenges of living in a part of Australia that is often overlooked.
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