They are finally here…a term break in a term that was strange, long and for many, exhausting. But we have made it and we have done so because we stayed together.
They say that teaching isn’t a job – it’s a vocation and what I have witnessed over the past term would make that a truism. Only a vocation would ask teachers to rise, as they have, to new forms of service to our community. Every lesson, every day they have been there to teach, support, encourage and recognise those initials and images on the screen, as young people who need them.
It can be very difficult to interact on the screen with students who you cannot see, who are often silent but the challenge has been there to do exactly that – to imagine the faces, the minds and hearts of students who are not visible. In that imagining is an act of true devotion and service and every teacher in every lesson has demonstrated that devotion. As a College we are always proud of our teachers but in the demands of the vocation of teaching in a pandemic, we hold them in even greater esteem and we hope, sincerely, they feel and know that.
It is important to acknowledge those dots on the screen as students who turned up, every lesson, every day, to listen, to share and engage in the process of learning. They too have suffered the loss of interactivity – of their peers and the effect of those peers on their learning. They have had to learn differently. The pandemic has demanded that they take greater responsibility for their learning – to do the work without direct supervision – for some, in significant isolation. I hope they feel we see them and care for them and are rightly proud of their dedication, their efforts and their resilience. As a College we are always proud of our students but schooling through a pandemic, we hold them in greater esteem and we hope, sincerely, they feel and know that.
Behind those dots are the parents and carers who have had to step into the gap left between the school and the student in new and novel ways. For many, the complexities of what their children have been learning is challenging and, at times, overwhelming – but they are there…supporting, encouraging, cajoling and exhausted themselves from balancing work and home schooling. They have had to lift, too, to suddenly know about Geography, Maths and Art…or at least assist their daughter to discover for herself. We have always valued our parent and carer community but by parenting or caring through a pandemic, we hold them in even greater esteem and we hope, sincerely, they feel and know that.
It takes many hands to build a school but it takes many hearts to make a learning community. We look forward positively to Term 4, particularly to:
- Welcome you all back with joy, gratitude and hope
- Give all our VCAL and VCE students the opportunity to complete their courses
- Welcome our new Year 7s for 2021
- Support our current Year 7s to reconnect with each other and the College
- Support all our students to complete the year with relevant adjustments
And we know that we are not out of the woods yet and that 2020 will continue to challenge us and that the future is unpredictable but if we stay together, we will be the stronger for it and we will endure.