Message from the Principal

Welcome to week seven of Term 1. I hope all in the community were able to use the long weekend to take a deep breath and ready themselves for the final four weeks of term.

As sighted on page 4 of last Wednesday’s Age, the College received wonderful news last week from the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) informing us that we were one of ten Catholic schools across Australia and one of two in Victoria that had achieved significant improvement in our NAPLAN results over a prolonged period in the area of numeracy. This is an outstanding achievement in itself, made all the more significant given that our results were coming off a high base. Our results have always been well above state averages, meaning any improvement is a very significant one. I would like to congratulate all staff for their efforts but in particular Mr Neil Carter for his leadership in the curriculum area, Mr David McDonald for his leadership in the maths area and all the maths teachers for this great result.

Last week there were a number of activities including the Year 9 camps which on initial reports went well. The senior ACC summer competitions continue on with the senior cricket team suffering their first loss last week. Hopefully they can win away this week in Geelong to secure a place in the final. The tennis boys continue to be competitive representing the College with pride. We were notified during the week of three of our boys doing amazing things outside the College in the sporting world. Brothers Dean and Athan Dritsas both won state Karate titles in the past couple of weeks and will now go on to represent Victoria at the National championships in a few weeks. Athan has also been selected to represent Australia at the world titles in Las Angeles later on this year. We also have a budding baseball champion with Casey Henderson being selected as a bottom ager in the Victorian under 18 side to compete at the national championships later this term in Canberra. Well done to these boys and we wish them every success for their upcoming competitions and for their future in their sports.

This leads very well into my reflection for the week ‘the role of the teacher and the complexity of the job’. Upon entering the profession, or in a Catholic setting the vocation, most teachers receive a rude awakening. Before stepping into a classroom, our thinking tends to be a little narrow and goes something along the lines that teaching is mainly instruction, partly performing, certainly being at the front and centre of classroom life. However through experience, and having to deal with the daily chaos and reality, we come to learn that this is the least of it – teaching introduces us to a more splendorous range of demands and experiences.

Most of us soon realise that teaching is instructing, advising, counselling, organising, assessing, guiding, goading, showing, managing, modelling, coaching, disciplining, prodding, preaching, persuading, proselytizing, listening, interacting, nursing, refereeing and inspiring. Teachers must be experts and generalists, psychologists, rabbis and priests, judges and gurus.

One thing becomes very clear, teaching as the direct delivery of some pre-planned curriculum, or the orderly and scripted conveyance of information, is simply a myth.

Teaching is much larger, and much more alive than that, it contains more pain and conflict, more joy and intelligence, more uncertainty and ambiguity. It requires more judgement and energy and intensity than on some days seems humanly possible.

Teaching is spectacularly unlimited. For the most part teaching is richly rewarding providing most of us with a reason to get out of bed each morning. Working with students on a daily basis allows us to play a part in the future as we work with the leaders of tomorrow. On a daily basis we nurture and develop the next generation of surgeons, mechanics, chefs, lawyers and hopefully teachers. What a privilege we are entrusted with.

Here at Salesian College Chadstone we are very fortunate to have the dedicated and talented staff that we do. The commitment amongst the staff to look after all the students in the community and tend to their needs is reassuring and provides us with the confidence that all students are receiving a quality holistic education. We congratulate them all on their talents and their efforts and appreciate them for the wonderful job that they do on a daily basis regardless of what is happening in their own lives.

Robert Brennan