STAFFING UPDATE – MID TERM 2 (UPON RETURN)
There have been some minors changes to the teaching staff upon returning from the online learning platform. These are as follows:
- Mrs Bright is on maternity leave for the remainder of the year, in her absence Mrs Robinson-Dawe will be teaching the majority of her timetabled classes;
- Mr D’Souza has taken the role of Embark Coordinator in Mrs Bright’s absence;
- Mr M Bourke will join the staff for the remainder of the year;
- Mr Chapman will be on paternity leave throughout Weeks 6, 7 and part of 8. His mathematics classes will be covered internally by members of the CLT and others.
In what has been two months of considerable change since March 21st when we went into near lock-down, unprecedented, unheard of in modern times. Instant forced restrictions put into place to alter our way of life; isolation enforced from everything that we perceived as normal. What we took for granted previously had then been taken away. An overnight change to the way teaching was delivered and a change to the way we learn. All coming to a point at the conclusion of Y12 HSC half-yearly assessment tasks and the Term 1 Assessments for other year groups.
Such an enormous change to our learning, our lives, our families, the way we interpret normal. Your reactions may have varied; from being confused, angry, anxious all at different times. But this reaction is completely normal it is a natural response – it is called being human. The one constant thing over the past two months; the most consistent thing throughout this time of isolation, online learning and teaching, lifestyle restrictions is ‘change’ itself.
Every single day we have had morning and evening updates – changes to the previous days or weeks information, increased then relaxed social restrictions, limits to the number of people in rooms or gathered, who gets to work / who doesn’t, who keeps their jobs who doesn’t, is the HSC on or is it cancelled, what do assessments look like online, who goes to school / who doesn’t. So many questions requiring answers, which were out of our control. To be perfectly honest, even as a lover of mathematics there can be too many statistics provided, which only created and often caused more confusion. Comparison statistics, day to day, week to week, state v state, one country v another, explaining exponential graphs and there is more than that one curve to focus on and I mean the description ‘flattening’, really.
I have spoken previously to many of the year groups throughout learning assemblies, about a growth versus fixed mindset, in relation to their approach to learning. A growth mindset allows you, in this time of change, to focus on your attitude and behaviour towards change. Negativity breeds negativity. A positive approach to things that you have direct control over – a growth mindset for you to control your environment. Many of you may have heard of the saying ‘not my circus – not my monkeys’, spending time worrying or focusing on things that are out of your control is an absolute waste of your time and effort which are both precious. Students in many cases should try and adopt the approach of a growth mindset to continue with their learning and control what they have the capacity to control.
Change should not control your behaviour – your behaviour should control and manage this change. You had to modify your learning to online, a change in behaviour – some thrived and others struggled, this is the same for adults as well including teachers and parents. But I encourage you to look for the opportunities of individual growth, don’t try to predict the future or look too far down the track and continue to keep the communication lines open. As the NSW authorities continue to ease restrictions, increase numbers at gatherings, look at ways business and workers can return to work safely, we will continually be exposed to information regarding changes to our lives post COVID-19.
St Dominic’s College throughout all these difficult times, will continue to communicate and look for opportunities to have staff and students back on-campus in a safe environment. We will also endeavour to seek opportunities to celebrate the achievements of our students and reinvent some of the ways we do things e.g. Virtual Y12 Semester 1 Academic Assembly held last week. It definitely has changed the way we view common practice, it may have even opened up a number of avenues for improved practices, placing people outside their comfort zones and as a community we believe the future is bright.
STUDENT / PARENT / TEACHER CONFERENCES
We are still developing a plan to conduct our Student Parent Teacher to discuss you son’s report and his learning engagement throughout Semester 1. These discussions will also include how he managed in the online learning environment – hopefully to focus on where the growth edges in his learning may occur and what the focus of individual improvement should be as we continue managing within a different environment.
Mr B Walsh