Deputy's Report | Mr Damien Fall
The weeks of Term 1 have again flown by and we find ourselves very much focussed on the upcoming assessment period. Post-Industrial Revolution education has been renowned as something of a ‘production line’ approach, where students complete learning, are assessed, then the cycle repeats. True lifelong learning, of course, challenges this notion of learning purely for assessment then discarding what was learned once the task has been completed. The new Senior system goes some way towards this by revisiting concepts and challenging students to be able to use their learnings from across a more extended period of time. The College’s Studies Principles, developed in partnership with the University of Queensland, are designed to help students not only excel with their assessment, but also to become learners who better understand their own strengths and needs. The capacity to reflect and keep finding improvement as a student is a key to success in life beyond school and challenges the old notion of ‘filling the bucket’ for an exam and emptying it immediately after.
In my role as Deputy Principal, I am heavily involved with all matters relating to the staffing of the College and the subsequent leadership and management of our valuable team of more than 200 staff. Much has been said and written about the challenges of the current labour market, with employers from most professions finding the recruitment of suitably qualified and experienced staff extremely difficult. This is certainly true of the market in education circles, but I am delighted with our current teaching staff including the excellent team of teachers who are new to the College in 2023. Attraction and retention of staff is more important than ever, and one key to this is providing a workplace which grows our reputation as an employer of choice. The College works hard to make the experience of employees as positive and rewarding as possible. Students and their families have a part to play in this as well, as school staff, both teachers and non-teachers, take great pride in their work and are at their best when they feel affirmed and supported. I can say first-hand that the experiences of our staff are almost always positive and supportive, and I thank our families for acknowledging the great work that is done.
Students have a large part to play in job-satisfaction for our staff. Important student matters such as manners, respect, behaviour in and out of the classroom and personal presentation all have an impact on the adults working for our students and we need our young men to understand that they have a critical part to play in the attraction and retention of good staff. In interviews, prospective staff often speak of being attracted to work at Terrace because of the reputation of our young men. I am always pleased to hear this and I hope this continues to occur. As we enter the exam period, I encourage our students to display gratitude. Staff love to be acknowledged and thanked for their efforts and a few words of sincere thanks can have an impact. When a student performs well on an exam, they should be justifiably proud of their achievement. Equally, their thoughts and gratitude should go towards those who helped them get there. I wish all students the very best over the important final weeks of the term, and on behalf of all students, parents, and caregivers, I thank all of the College’s staff. It truly takes a village to raise a child. Finally, a prayer for our young men at this important time.
Lord, we bring before You our students as they face this important examination time. Give them the gifts of wisdom, right judgment, knowledge and courage. Bless them with calm hearts and clarity of mind as they sit for their exams.
May they be affirmed in their efforts and may they know that You are there with them. We pray that they will stay calm under pressure and work to the best of their ability.
May they feel Your loving presence in their lives, now and always, and may they be strengthened by the prayerful support of us, the Terrace Family.
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, Edmund and St Joseph.