Posted on February 22, 2017
A terrific return for the whole School community
Now nearly four weeks into term as I write this, I would be hard-pressed to think of a smoother start to the school year in any school where I have worked, in any year. Commencing Day 1, there was a palpable sense of quiet purpose amongst the students. Our Year 11 and 12 students were immediately using their study periods very sensibly and effectively and there was impressive engagement in the many classrooms I have nosed my way into! Our various Information Evenings for each section of the School have had larger than usual attendances this year and we have already had two terrific Tintern Grammar Alumni Association functions – a very active start indeed! I have enjoyed seeing many of you already at our “Drinks with the Principal” functions for each section of the School and am further looking forward to the coming ones. I do hope to chat with you at one or other of these, as for me they are invaluable opportunities to hear what you have to ask and to say.
On the topic of saying what we believe and the doing it (factis non verbis), the week before last saw our first staff Professional Learning Forum hosted by senior Tintern students! This was a ‘first ever’ leadership opportunity that was taken on and conducted in brilliant fashion by the students.
The first presenters (to all secondary staff) were Year 11 students Jack Read and Stefan Bennett, joined by Vishnu Pillay and Aidyn Malojer from Year 10. The boys presented their views on effective strategies for relating to and teaching boys in Senior College, and how boys think about and engage with their learning. Following this, Tara McAsey and Alex Eadie (Year 11), joined by Kate Swain and Nora Scanlan (Year 10) gave a girls’ perspective on the same topics to the secondary staff. Each group followed their presentation by answering questions without notice from the staff. The students were impressively thoughtful, considered and mature in their approach to this somewhat intimidating task and answered the staff questions with aplomb and significant good sense.
These were very valuable insights for the staff (this was their view, not mine!), and all the students clearly indicated it was an empowering process for them too. Perhaps most significant for me was the relationship building that I saw as I observed the activity – it was both obvious and impressive. As a collaborative process between students and staff, it was a very powerful one indeed!
In our school, experiences like this add richness and depth to the relationships between staff and students. The importance of collaboration across genders, ages and cultures in our students’ futures is clear and building skills and experience in these will engender students with a belief that they really can go out and influence their future world in partnership with others. This breadth of experience and opportunity partners with quality teaching to give our students every opportunity to achieve their best in and out of the classroom.
Factis non verbis