Q&A with Richard Bourbon

Q&A with Richard Bourbon, Salesian College Chadstone’s new Assistant Principal – Students

Richard Bourbon joined us as the new Assistant Principal – Students in the beginning of Term 3, 2022. In the weeks that have followed, Richard has established himself as a core part of our school’s Salesian fabric. His teaching and parenting styles are built from a foundation of respect and wellbeing, skills which have developed from working and living internationally. Richard shares the experiences he brings to Salesian College Chadstone in his interview below.

What have been some of your most significant international educational learnings?

I feel that I have gained a strong sense of the value of diversity after being fortunate to teach with people from a wide range of cultural backgrounds. I have learned a lot about the different ways that young people learn and the importance of fostering a learning culture in the classroom. I have learned a significant amount about helping students to understand what it means to be a global citizen and to think about sustainability and the impact of their decisions upon society and the environment.

You are person with clear sense of gratitude and authenticity. What influenced this outlook of yours?

I have always felt very fortunate to be able to be a teacher as I am doing something that I really enjoy and find to be very fulfilling. I think that over time, I have learned to be comfortable to be myself and to focus upon how I can support the people around me. I have been fortunate over time, to work closely with people who were truly selfless and worked hard to improve the lives of the people they worked with or taught.

What is your philosophy as a teacher and a father?

As a father, I have always believed that it is important to be attentive to our three children and to aim to be an active part of their lives. I feel that my experiences as the father of a 23, 21 and 18 year old have shaped my teaching as I have continued to gain an appreciation of the differences in their personalities, and the way that they communicate and relate to each other. I feel that this has carried over into my teaching, as I am more attuned to the differences in the way students communicate and the different challenges they face with their learning. This has encouraged me to think of different ways of reaching out to the young people I teach.

What did Jerudong International School and Brunei teach you about working with young people?

I was very fortunate to teach at JIS, as it is an exceptional school with a strong culture of achievement and an emphasis upon respect for each other. I learned about the importance of having high expectations of students, but also the need to support and listen to them. Many of the Bruneian students I taught were very softly spoken; I discovered the importance of listening, but also checking in on students, ensuring that they were happy with their learning and felt supported.

How have you transitioned to living and working in Melbourne again?

Aside from the cold winter weather back in July, Ruth, Nick and I have enjoyed a smooth transition back into life in Melbourne. We are really enjoying being back around our two older children, Joe and Hannah, and our extended families. We have enjoyed spending time with our parents, Ruth has four siblings and I have seven, so there are a lot of people to catch up with which has been a lot of fun! And of course, teaching in such a welcoming and friendly community such as Salesian College has made the transition back so much easier.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

Teaching is a very rewarding profession on so many levels. It is tremendously rewarding to build positive relationships with students, parents and colleagues. I get a lot of satisfaction watching students improve and becoming happier and more confident in their learning. It is great watching a student who has been struggling with a particular concept, develop an understanding of and master this idea.

How can families bolster social and emotional wellbeing for boys?

I feel that boys and young men value a sense of connection, and a feeling that people genuinely care about them. I think that making time and space to spend time together and creating an environment where boys feel they can speak openly is vital in helping to foster a strong sense of social and emotional wellbeing. In addition, encouraging them to be active and to establish strong sleep routines is very helpful.

Thank you, Richard, for sharing your time and knowledge with us.