ATConnect All >

The Best Job in the World

They may forget what you said but they will not forget how you made them feel. – Carl Buechner

This quote from Carl Buechner has been my core motivation throughout my teaching career. When I recall the teachers I remember fondly, I recall the teachers who made me feel successful or capable of achieving. Last Friday was World Teachers Day and it provided us with the opportunity to recognise the contribution of teachers at our Friday assembly.

On the assembly I shared that I believed teaching is the best job in the world. As a teacher, by working each day we help create the future and there not many jobs that allow this. By helping to form the young people in our care we help shape the future by raising the capacity of our students to believe that they can change the world. Belief that they can do this, is where I believe teachers have their biggest influence. Yes it is important to develop skills, teach concepts, unleash creativity and encourage high order thinking, but without a belief that you can make a difference means that these ‘teachings’ will not have the full impact that they can. Learning is a lifetime journey and developing a love of learning is far more important than filling a knowledge bucket or limiting learning to a defined curriculum.

I read an interesting article recently that discussed what makes a great teacher. Most articles about what makes a great teacher are scholarly pieces that are written by academics. What made this article different was it was the result of asking students what makes a great teacher? The cynic in me suggests that this is a novel approach – fancy asking those who are affected by the action! Surely we should apply some measureable criteria so that it can be justified! In the article Ashley Peterson-DeLuca cited the following five thoughts on what students felt made a great teacher:

1. The ability to develop relationships with their students. The research literature agrees with them: Teachers need to be able to build trusting relationships with students in order to create a safe, positive, and productive learning environment.
2. Patient, caring, and kind personality. There is research to support that personality characteristics related to being a compassionate person and having a sensitivity to student differences, particularly with learners, is a key criteria in teaching.
3. Knowledge of learners. This is a broad category that incorporates knowledge of the cognitive, social and emotional development of learners and importantly it involves just letting the student know that they value them as a person.
4. Dedication to teaching. The dedication students refer to is a love of teaching or passion for the work which is reflected in their positivity and energy – students believe positive energy is contagious.
5. Engaging students in learning. Researchers talk about three types of engagement that are required for students to learn: cognitive, emotional, and behavioural. For students they believe that great teachers motivate students to succeed in and out of school.

Here at ATC we are very fortunate to have the teachers and staff we do. I believe that they understand and work within these ideas that this student survey produced. Our teachers are among the most dedicated and committed teachers I have ever worked with. In the context of a new school they have been instrumental in not only teaching in the day to day but they have also helped create a culture that is defining the school. As a new school the requirement to write programs and develop teaching resources has been unbelievably onerous. The fact that they have not taken their eye of the importance of the day to day relational work of teaching only adds to the incredible work that they are doing. As we celebrate World Teachers Day, I would like to sincerely congratulate our teachers on a job well – it is incredible in what you have help create at ATC. I believe these quotes sum up the important role of teachers in our world today:

Teaching kids to count is fine, but teaching them what counts is best. – Bob Talbert

Nine-tenths of education is encouragement. – Anatole France

Teachers have three loves: love of learning, love of learners, and the love of bringing the first two loves together. – Scott Hayden

I am not a teacher, but an awakener. – Robert Frost

The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows. – Sydney J. Harris

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. – Nelson Mandela

Long Serving Staff

A lovely tradition that we have for World Teachers Day is recognising long serving staff members. Anyone who works in a school helps shape students and we feel it is fitting that we recognise all staff on this day. This year we celebrated that remarkable contribution of the following staff members:

Paul Ramsey- Japanese Teacher 20 Years’ Service
Wayne Green- Grounds Manager 20 Years’ Service
Jonathon Bolt- Head of Co-Curricular Music 15 Years’ Service
Michael Bannon- Percussion Teacher 15 Years’ Service
Alison Conlan- Junior School Teacher 15 Years’ Service
Pam Mansfield- Administration Assistant 10 Years’ Service
Annabel Wolf- Middle School Teacher 10 Years’ Service
Salvador Ferrando- Ground Staff Member 10 Years’ Service
Siobhan Brophy- Junior School Counsellor 10 Years’ Service

House Lip Sync Battle

One of the features of ATC over our first five years has been a commitment to add some interest and fun into the ordinary of school life. Last Friday saw the advent of the inaugural Inter House Lip Sync Battle. Through the enthusiasm of one of our Year 12 leaders, Phillip Gerridzen, our four Houses prepared a House performance that consisted of a number of lip sync renditions. Performances were judged on their broad involvement, the actual performance and the overall energy. As an inaugural event I was overawed by the commitment and energy on display. Whilst I should never be surprised by what our young men are capable of, I was ‘surprised’ by the quality of Friday’s performances. Involvement was a standout with all of the Houses heavily supported and even the shy found the courage to be performers, albeit in the safety of not being in the front row. There were of course some standout individual performers who displayed grace on their feet, impressive acrobatic skills and authentic passion in their miming – and these performances were not limited to our students with a number of House tutors making standout performances. Needless to say the event drew a big crowd and they were all enthralled by the quality of the performances. The energy of the lunchtime activity has no doubt set an indispensable place in our house rivalry for years to come. As one of the judges who were in the invidious position to pick a winner on the day, our final decision was to award Ulster the win for the day, also handing Ulster the distinction to be overall House Champions for 2019.

Staff Appointment

We are pleased to announce that Lara Morgan has been appointed and accepted the position of Dean of Learning in 2020 replacing Kath Little who leaves us at the end of the year. Lara brings a wealth of experience from Nudgee College previously, as well as her current leadership role in our Learning Department. In her capacity as Assistant Dean of Learning – School Improvement this year, Lara has demonstrated an ability to lead school wide initiatives and we are confident that she will capably manage the wider responsibility of Dean of Learning at the College.

Prayers

I would ask the community to please keep the following students and families in your thoughts and prayers: Finn Snell (6 Campbell), Connor Crowe (7 Nolan), Toby Smitheram (8 Treacy) and Henry Lucas (Year 11 – Munster 5) following the recent passing of family members. I would also ask the community to keep staff member Ellen Bray, in your thoughts and prayers following the recent passing of her Mother-in-Law, Heather. We hope that the passage of time will help heal the pain of their passing.

Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord, may perpetual light shine upon them, may they rest in peace. Amen.

With best wishes

Michael Senior