From the Principal

Did you know today is World Teachers’ Day?                      

Happy World Teachers Day!

This newsletter I want to acknowledge and celebrate all the teachers’ in our students’ lives. No matter how old we are, we can all remember the teachers who made an impact on our lives while at school. For me these include:

* Mr Hinze (great name for Primary school jokes) – my Year 3 teacher, who made me feel better on my first day at a new school by saying it was ‘his first day too, so we could look after each other’.

* Mr Rasmussen (from Scandinavia with a very stylish moustache) – who helped me memorise my times tables and to love reading fiction

* Mr Taylor (my history teacher from Year 8 to Year 12 who started teaching in 1946!) – whose firm discipline I resented initially but grew to respect and love

* Mrs Grey (a native Queenslander who loved to give us a hard time during State of Origin season) – who consistently encouraged me to excel in HSC Biology, which helped set my path to becoming a Science teacher

Each of our students at William Carey is distinct in their strengths and passions, as are our teachers. As a learning community, we grow in learning and life and both are built upon the relationships that exist between learners and teachers.

At William Carey, our teachers are committed to engaging in transforming lives. This not only involves learning but also the formation of character. Our five attributes (Learner, Team Member, Respectful, Leader & Helper, Wise & Brave) are characteristics which have a firm biblical foundation and allow us to consider and grow to be the people God wants us to be, in Christ.

So thank you, classroom teachers, for your hard work this year especially in navigating the learning course during COVID-19!

When we think of teachers, we naturally think of classroom teachers. That is their formal title and role. However, I want to extend the celebration of the teachers in our lives beyond the formal classroom teacher role.

Our fantastic Prep School’s teaching approach is based on that of the Reggio Emilia philosophy.

“Relationships are at the very heart of the Reggio Emilia philosophy. That philosophy is reflected in an environment that encircles the child with three “teachers,” or protagonists. The first teacher—the parent—takes on the role of an active partner and guide in the education of the child. The second is the classroom teacher. Often working in pairs, the classroom teacher assumes the role of researcher and intentionally engages children in meaningful work and conversation. The third teacher is the environment—a setting designed to be not only functional but also beautiful and reflective of the child’s learning. It is the child’s relationship with parent, teacher, and environment that ignites learning.” (Inspired by Reggio Emilia: Emergent Curriculum in Relationship-Driven Learning Environments)

I still have very strong memories of how my father practised times tables with me, every single morning on the way to school through my Primary years. Not much fun at the time but my basic arithmetic is now well and truly welded in place. Thanks Dad! Plus, our home was very ordinary but full of books, magazines and a diverse music collection, which fostered my love of both reading and a eclectic music taste (which sadly is not appreciated by my own children).

So as our students’ first teachers can I encourage you to celebrate World Teachers’ Day with us?

As your children’s first teachers you can be so positively impacting. Here are some ways parents can help and participate in children’s learning:

* Develop secure and trusting attachments

Establishing predictable and consistent routines helps children develop a sense of security when change is occurring in other parts of their lives

* Develop social skills

Carefully observe your child’s personality, strengths, and weaknesses. Then provide the level of behaviour control, discipline style, and degree of freedom that works best for them — all the while showing love and support.

* Develop positive values

Respect, kindness, honesty, courage, perseverance, self-discipline, compassion and many more values can be foundered from home. Children look to you as models, as to how to shape their lives.

* Develop literacy and numeracy skills

Making reading a normal part of household life or having conversations about words and numbers makes literacy and numeracy skill acquisition a normal part of life.

* Promote a love of learning

Conversations that describe learning in terms of discovery and perseverance to overcome challenges can shift the focus to achievement.

* Model wise and safe use of ICT

Our children watch how we use ICT and model their behaviour on that. Participate in regular open conversations about using the Internet and social media wisely.

* Develop emotional awareness

Children look to trusted people in their lives for emotional support when distressed. Children also learn to understand and express their emotions through you. They notice how you handle your own emotions, as you are considered their emotional role models.

There are many other positive ways parents teach their children, this list is just a starting point. Being a child’s first teacher is no small thing and has such a significant impact on the lives of our children.

So, celebrate with us in recognising all the great teachers in our children’s lives.

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old, they will not turn from it.”
Proverbs 22:6

In Christ,

Keith McMullen,