You Don't Know What You've Got til it's Gone

World Teachers’ Day was held on Friday 27 October.  We had the opportunity to humbly acknowledge and celebrate the dedication, care, and professionalism of our staff at a morning tea. 

As I wrote last week, we are blessed to have such a generous, dedicated, and compassionate teaching staff at ATC. I was reminded of this as we facilitated the first phase of our annual induction program “I’m @ ATC” last week for new staff for 2024. Their interest in our philosophies, approaches, frameworks, and practices was piqued and I know that when they commence with us, they will be overwhelmed by the collegiality and support of their staffroom peers. I know this as it is a feature of new staff feedback to me each year at ATC.

Across the country, there is a very serious teacher shortage. Many of us will have read about this in the media or perhaps heard about it from a family member, colleague, or friend. This is a very real and present phenomena and we are not immune to the challenge at ATC. In my 32 years of working in schools, and in my liaison with colleagues both in Brisbane and interstate, I have never seen the challenge of staffing in schools reach such urgency and indeed this emergent problem has been identified for many years.

Teaching is a very human exercise. Like many roles, it is intensely interpersonal with many variables in any given hour, day, or week. There are increasing demands on teachers and their time brought about by technology, legislation, regulation and an ever evolving social and economic landscape that impacts and informs trends, policy, change and accountabilities.

I don’t know too many teachers who want society to feel sorry for them as we understand that there are numerous challenging roles across different sectors and contexts impacted by similar factors and most of us love what we do and are intrinsically rewarded by the relationships we build and the holistic achievements of young people. 

But our concern is that there are fewer of us attracted to the profession, the vocation, and the joy of being an educator. It is a real and present danger to our society and country. This doesn’t happen by accident, there are reasons for it. I am not alone in believing that as a society, at political, governmental, and social levels, we are not prioritising education and the education profession to the degree we could or should be and that if not already, we will pay the price for this as a society in the years and decades to come.

I am grateful for the teachers and non-teachers who do their best each day at ATC in a very human role and environment with so much diversity, complexity, and important priorities. I am grateful to the parents and caregivers who work and partner with our teachers respectfully, constructively, patiently, and gratefully, mindful of the importance of positive relationships in the formation and development of your child. 

As Joni Mitchell sang all those years ago, “you don’t know what you got, till it’s gone”.

Thank you to all teachers not only on World Teacher’s Day but every day. 

Staff News

Congratulations to Ms Emmalee Hoyer, our Year 6 coordinator who has been appointed to the promoted position of Assistant Head of Junior School: Curriculum at St Aidan’s College in 2024. We congratulate Emmalee and wish her well for this opportunity for professional growth.

Congratulations to Mr David Ryan who has been appointed as one of our Junior School Year Level Coordinators commencing next year. David is a relatively new member of our staff who is currently teaching Year 6 and brings many years of experience in Brisbane Catholic Education to this role.

As mentioned last week, Ms Nicole Kirsch has been appointed as Head of Senior School Mathematics commencing next year. Subsequently, her position of Co-ordinator of Middle School Mathematics became available, and I congratulate Ms Tegan Kent who has been appointed to this position. Tegan is a well-established member of our Maths team who has been very involved in developing Maths curriculum and assessment design. We look forward to her strong contribution to this key faculty.

From 2024, our Japanese teaching team will be coordinated by Ms Tasha Damon, a current member of our staff. Congratulations to Tasha on this appointment. Thank you to Ms Tanya Oghanna who has coordinated Japanese this year. Ms Damon will take some personal leave in Term One and Mr Paul Ramsay, who led this subject for many years at Nudgee Junior and ATC, will be the Acting Coordinator.

With the retirement of Ms Lisa Mortlock after 25 years of dedicated service, and the arrival of Mr Lyndon Brieffies as our new Head of Sport, we have taken the opportunity to review and modify our team roles and structures. Mr Rob Lofting has been appointed our Assistant Head of Sport and Mr Luke Read will join the College in December in an administrative support role for our Sport and Club Programs. Luke will work with both Lyndon and the Sport team and with Mr Andrew McCrohon, our Head of Service and Clubs, in supporting and administrating these co-curricular activities.

Our IT Team is a hardworking and vital aspect of our supports and services. Mr Kallan Mende has been a diligent and skilled worker in this team, and we wish him well as he has secured a new role in the corporate sector with an international firm. We wish Kallan all the very best and thank him for his contribution to the ATC story. 

St Vincent de Formal

The annual Year 10 St Vincent de Formal was held in partnership with Brigidine College last Thursday. This event is always a highlight with speed meeting, trivia, competitions, pizza, music, and dances. It was a joy to see the students of both schools mixing so positively and pleasing for the mission work of St Vincent de Paul to be celebrated and supported. Thank you to our Faith and Mission Team for their co-ordination and facilitation of this innovative event.  

CBSQ Basketball

The ATC Year 7 and 8 Basketball team competed in the Sophomore Champion Basketball School of Queensland Tournament at the Coomera Indoor Sports Centre in a four day competition last week. The tournament consisted of 4 divisions of schools from all over Queensland. ATC competed in Division 2 and finished their pool round matches undefeated including an overtime one point thriller against Nudgee College. The boys then beat Trinity College Beenleigh in the quarter final and Sheldon College in the Semi final to advance to the Grand final against St Laurence's College. In an incredibly close final, the scores were tied at both half time and full time. After an intense overtime period, ATC prevailed to run out winners 44-40 to take the Gold medal as CBSQ Div 2 Champions! The win also means that ATC is promoted up into Division 1 for the 2024 CBSQ tournament which is the top 16 schools in Queensland.

Congratulations to all players - Aiden AmoAmo, Ethan AmoAmo, Elijah Andraos, Parker Cope, Aidan Graham, Dillon Greene, Nicholas Kfouri, Zaire Mroczkowski, Jamayhn Nagas, Kyron Robinson, and Jacob Volker, and to their coach Mr Tom Denny, Manager Mr Paul Draheim and our Basketball Coordinator Mr Ben Marriott.

College Service Assembly

We look forward to tomorrow’s Service Assembly where there is a particular focus on this important aspect of our Pillars in recognising and celebrating the efforts of our students, staff and parents and caregivers in acts of service that are sometimes about helping, sometimes about solidarity, sometimes about advocacy, sometimes about providing resources and sometimes about being present and relational. There are so many ways to be of service to those in need whether through voice, labour, sacrifice, discipline, kindness, empathy, friendship, or generosity. Our explicit commitment to our Pillar of Service at ATC is a genuine point of difference in the culture of our school. I thank the many students, staff and parents and caregivers who are so deeply committed to this important aspect of our identity as a Catholic school in the Edmund Rice tradition.

A great recent example of this took place over the weekend for the ‘MS Moonlight Walk’ which was at Davies Park West End. The charity walk supports research for multiple sclerosis and 2024 College Captain, Declan participated in the event to raise funds for an issue close to his heart. Well done to all who joined him in this initiative. 

College Tour

This Thursday we host our final College Tour for the year. Over 270 people again have registered to come and experience the ATC difference. I thank the staff and students who will volunteer to showcase our wonderful community. I again remind current families and your friends to be sure to register your younger siblings for enrolment and thank our families for your references and advocacy for ATC with new families to our school. If you have any queries, please contact our Head of Enrolments, Robyn Donaldson. For tour registration, please click here.

Community Prayers

Lord, we pray for those in our community who are suffering. Be with them in this time of hardship and uncertainty. Give comfort and peace to those who have lost loved ones. May their sorrow be turned into strength, and their distress turned into peace. May our hearts remain loving and pure as we seek to always be compassionate to those around us.

God bless.

Chris Ryan