I never liked school; well I think I was neutral about primary school but I really didn’t like secondary school. Curiously though, I was always going to be a teacher: apart from brief moments when I thought I might be a butcher or a drummer. I don’t remember having any particularly good relationships with teachers, so I’m not sure were the inspiration came from. Perhaps, it was born out of the subconscious understanding that school should be a good place to be combined with my God given strength to want to be part of making it just that – a good place to be.
I started teaching in 1989 and thus began a love/hate relationship. I eventually learned that teaching wasn’t the problem. The problem was I still didn’t like school. It wasn’t any one school’s fault; a number of factors contributed to my angst. I decided that clearly teaching wasn’t for me. However, God had other ideas.
I am relieved and very pleased that schooling- education has changed enormously since 1989. The contrast to my own years at school is even greater. But I’m still not satisfied. I still want and expect schooling to be better and I am more convinced than ever that it can be. There is plenty of evidence to support my conviction; firstly, the changes that have already occurred in my life-time as an educator and secondly, the need for change is more widely recognised and so many more educators are being proactive in bringing about change.
At Red Rock, change is evident – thankfully! It shouldn’t be any other way – change is necessary to meet the changing needs of each generation, to capture and utilise our developing understanding about how we learn, to cater for the differences in the workplace and to equip our children for a world that looks vastly different to the world of their grandparents or even their parents.
Change is necessary so we can do better. I liken it to the achievements of athletes – significant improvement takes time and intention. Athletes aim to break records – they don’t know what can be achieved until a record has been set. Then, they know they can do better – the athletes train harder, their coaches train differently and scientist do further research to discover new and better ways to train. Breaking the four- minute mile is a great example. Until 1954, when Barrister broke the barrier, it was believed it couldn’t be done. Since then it has been done many times. No athlete looks at a record that has been set and thinks – that’s fantastic, what a great achievement, no-one can do better than that. Athletes recognise the achievements of those that have gone before them as incentive to do better.
Likewise, at RRCC we see our success in wellbeing, culture and learning as fantastic but also as incentive to keep breaking down barriers and doing even better. We expect to change. We expect to set new records. We expect to be constantly improving in the way we do schooling. Why? Because we know in each of the young people that comes into this school – there is gold. These young people are fearfully and wonderfully made and we want them to know it. We want them to influence their world with integrity and that can only happen if they are being true to who they have been created to be.
To help us break down barriers and set new records we will be working with Peter Hutton (former Templestowe College, Principal) to create a school environment that allows our students to know who they are and to pursue their purpose. We are also working with Sharon Garro, a facilitator of Prof. Lea Waters, Visible Wellbeing approach. Just like athletes we are being very intentional in the professional expertise we partner with to break down barriers.