From the Principal

Thank you to our teachers and staff

As a school we continue to modify the education we offer to make it more responsive and flexible, to ensure we can meet the demands of the day. We continue to meet the individual learning needs of all our students and remain open to young people learning from life experiences outside the campus. We will continue to have an approach to learning that is conducive to building trust and respect between teachers and students.

Our current situation has meant that the demands on teachers have never been higher. The role of the teacher has always been complex, and the pandemic has only added to this complexity. All teaching graduates enter the profession, or in a Catholic setting the vocation, naively, with most of us receiving a rude awakening. Before stepping into a classroom, our thinking tends to be a little narrow and goes something along the lines of considering teaching as consisting of mainly instruction, partly performing, and certainly being at the front and centre of classroom life. However, experience and having to deal with the daily chaos of the classroom, teaches us that this is the least of it. Teaching introduces us to a more splendorous range of demands and experiences.

We soon realise that teaching is instructing, advising, counselling, organizing, assessing, guiding, goading, showing, managing, modelling, coaching, disciplining, prodding, preaching, persuading, proselytizing, listening, interacting, nursing and inspiring.

Teachers must be experts and generalists, psychologists and cops, rabbis and priests, judges and gurus. One thing becomes clear. Teaching as the direct delivery of some pre-planned curriculum, teaching as the orderly and scripted conveyance of information, teaching as clerking, is simply a misconception.

We soon learn that teaching is much larger, and much more alive than that, it contains more pain and conflict, more joy and intelligence, more uncertainty and ambiguity. It requires more judgement and energy and intensity than on some days seems humanly possible.

Teaching is spectacularly unlimited and unpredictable, as exampled by this COVID-19 pandemic. Whilst many of us envisage a future where some teaching will be done remotely, none of us could foresee teaching remotely like we have had to this year.

For the most part, teaching is richly rewarding, providing most of us with a reason to get out of bed each morning. Working with students on a daily basis allows us to play a part in shaping the future, as we work with the leaders of tomorrow. On a daily basis we nurture and develop the next generation of surgeons, mechanics, chefs, lawyer, and hopefully teachers. What a privilege we are entrusted with.

Here at Salesian College Chadstone we are very fortunate to have the dedicated and talented staff we do. The commitment amongst the staff to look after all the students in the community and tend to their needs is reassuring and provides us with the confidence that all students are receiving a quality holistic education. This has never been more evident than over the past few months, as teachers have worked tirelessly to ensure the quality of education our boys receive has not been diminished by the fact they have been unable to come into school.

The College has spent a lot of time upskilling staff, reviewing our infrastructure and reviewing our initial foray into remote learning to ensure we are still in a position to deliver a quality education remotely. The success of the program we are offering will now rely on the commitment and dedication of our students to be disciplined in accessing their learning from home. I would like to publicly acknowledge, congratulate and thank our staff for the manner in which they have entered into this period of time and undertaken the tasks need to be completed, as it has put us in the position to tackle this issue confident of success.

As we enter this new period of Stage 4 restrictions, we continue to prepare for the challenges of the coming weeks. I encourage you to comfort your sons, and remind them that they are not alone in the challenges they are facing. I have been heartened by the way our wonderful Salesian community has worked together during this challenging year, and I am confident we will continue to work together in the best interests of our boys.

God bless.

Rob Brennan