Principal’s Message – Newsletter 23 July

Welcome back to all students and their families to what we hope is another productive and exciting term at Salesian College. I trust that all boys and their families were able to have a restful and enjoyable break, and that our senior students used the break to prepare for what is the downhill run for them as they enter into the last thirteen weeks of their VCE. Term 3 is an extremely important period for the Year 12 students as they complete the last of their outcomes in conjunction with preparing for exams. A theme they will hear repeatedly over the coming months is that whilst they have completed close to two thirds of the school year (as far as time is concerned) they still have two thirds of their marks available. This is the time to build on the platform they have laid in the first half of the year, or make a concerted effort to increase their efforts, for the remainder of the year.

Student reports were made available online during the last week of Term 2, thanks to the dedication of the teaching staff and in particular Mr Neil Carter and Mr Kj Maan. We hope all families took the opportunity to read and reflect on the feedback your son’s teachers were able to provide. The College would like to congratulate the vast majority of students on their efforts thus far, as reports indicated great work is being achieved in the classroom. For the small minority of students whose efforts have been below expectations, I would like to encourage them to heed the advice staff have provided and make a fresh start this term. We have ten uninterrupted weeks for both students and staff to knuckle down to some exciting teaching and learning.

On Monday the staff participated in the second of our consultation days as part of the School Improvement Framework process we are obliged to undertake as our accountability to the Australian Government. The day marked the completion of our research phase and the beginning of our strategic planning phase in the School Review process. The day was separated into three key areas:

1) Reflecting on the feedback we have received thus far

2) Looking at a new Vision and Mission statement; and

3) Setting goals and looking at some strategies that will take the College forward.

All three areas were all looked at whilst addressing the issues that have been raised throughout the data collection phase. All staff members are to be congratulated on the way they participated fully in the day. All were willing to contribute and take ownership of setting the College’s direction over the coming five years.

The College will release a Strategic Plan which will include a summary of all our findings along with the Vision and Mission statements in the coming weeks. All members of the College community will be invited to have input and provide feedback on both of these documents.

Compliance Report

As part of our compliance, the College has completed our Annual Report to the community and it has been be placed on the College website for all in our College community to read. Please feel free to provide feedback to us if you wish.

My reflection for this week is ‘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 experience, and having to deal with the daily chaos and some pain, teaches us that this is the least of it – teaching introduces us to a more splendorous range of demands and experiences.

We soon realise that teaching is instructing, advising, counselling, organizing, assessing, guiding, goading, showing, managing, modelling, coaching, disciplining, prodding, preaching, persuading, proselytizing, listening, interacting, nursing and inspiring.

Teachers must be experts and generalists, psychologists and cops, rabbis and priests, judges and gurus.

One thing becomes clear. Teaching as the direct delivery of some pre-planned curriculum, teaching as the orderly and scripted conveyance of information, teaching as clerking, 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 we are very fortunate to have the dedicated and talented staff 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.

God Bless.

Robert Brennan