It is probably the same in all jobs – some weeks are full of highs that reinforce why you do the work you do, while other weeks are simply harder to manage and you feel you just have to survive until the weekend. There are many magical moments in education, some huge and some very small. They can happen when you expect them, or they can take you by complete surprise.
Some weeks I just stop and think to myself how lucky I really am. Earlier this month, I had a week that prompted some grateful reflection. Every second Monday I begin my week with Assembly at Carey Donvale. So, in the morning when I leave home, I head in the opposite direction to normal, out towards Springvale Road to see the staff, students and parents in the hall. Each week we hear about student achievement, sing together, and celebrate the learning that has occurred in the classroom and beyond. On that particular week I heard about the Maths Talent Search with many students applying their maths skills to a topic of interest. The excitement and engagement in learning was a thrill to see.
Then to my Year 7 French class in the Middle School. At that stage we were still getting to know each other, as we only began learning together this semester. However, you know you are becoming more comfortable as a group when you can happily learn and sing the ‘ER verb’ song, a tune that helps us memorise the conjugation of key verbs in French. I had to first do my little solo and the group joined in with only a small amount of encouragement required. This meant that in only a couple of weeks, we were working together and were comfortable in the risk-taking environment of the language learning classroom. We even considered recording our song to share with others. Brave I know!
On the Wednesday, I was invited to attend the Year 5 Performance – The Greatest Australian Hero. As you may know by now, more than 70 of our Year 5 students researched, wrote, directed and performed this two-hour show that celebrated the heroes of Australia’s history. When we plan a performance like this, the focus is always on the deep learning that will occur as a result. Students were supported in their learning by the Year 5 staff and other leaders in the Junior School. The result was magnificent, and the students were rightfully very proud of their achievement – plus they loved every minute of it.
Every year, our Year 8 students participate in the Human Rights Convention. On the Thursday morning of that week, our Year 8s were learning about maternal mortality rates in developing countries and, as a team, they made birthing kits to support the work of Zonta clubs who supply these kits around the world. Talking to Year 8 students about their week and what they understood about human rights was a real highlight. I was amazed at the depth of their thinking and the conclusions some of them reached about how they can improve the world as a result of the experience. It was a moving moment as we paused when the kits were completed to send a prayer of love to those who would need them. It was my privilege to share this moment of reflection with our students. I admired the way they approached the task, and the respect they showed.
To finish the week, there was Saturday APS Sport. At that time, Carey was in the running for a range of premierships. While things did not go our way in the end, I attended the Girls Firsts Soccer match and it was impressive to see the way our girls handled their defeat after a tough game. They held their heads high, focussed on the successes of the season, and congratulated their opponents sincerely. Their coach, Fil Simeo, put it best when he told them to focus on the season as a whole, on their strength as a team, and the way they have supported each other.
Even though that week happened almost a month ago, the memories are still with me. It was the perfect example of a diverse and enriching week at Carey, and it was filled with moments that remind me of why I chose education as my career path.