Academic Focus

This term is one we will remember for many, many reasons – a time we might reflect upon in contemplative tone and perhaps be ‘telling … with a sigh, somewhere ages and ages hence’. Today, I’d like to remember the term for the ways it has allowed me to see the very best in our students.

When we began the term in remote mode, we were unsure whether it would be just a couple of lessons, or longer. I remember speaking with my Year 7 class and agreeing with them that whether it was for Week 1 or for Weeks 1 to 10, we were going to be the best remote learners we could be! And they did not disappoint … this week I finished the term with each of my students pitching their creative thinking, proposing an idea for a contemporary manifestation, in comic form, of an aspect of classical Greek mythology. What a blessing for any teacher to be working with committed students who bring their best every day. While I share here a specific example from one of my own classes, I know every teacher has enjoyed such experiences. We will remember this term for the resilience of our students, their creativity, their collaboration and the encouragement they provided not just to each other, but their teachers as well.

When we realised there was not going to be any Sport for quite some time, I remember the rapidity with which the Co-curricular team developed Canvas pages to support myriad versions of physical activity and training at home. While I am no great sportswoman, I found myself fascinated by the range of workout options available to even me and I felt empowered to give some of them a go! We will remember the ways in which digital spaces came to offer us so much connection to the things we love, and the inspiration to keep working hard for them.

When we understood that, despite our detailed planning, we would not be able to hold Trial Examinations onsite, I remember working with Year 12 students in a series of online briefing and practice sessions, attempting to get them ready for a new kind of final assessment in just a single week. Again, they did not disappoint … they engaged, they asked the right questions, they mastered the processes required, they worked over the phone with IT specialists to solve technology issues, they managed their mothers and fathers who occasionally popped into the online assessment (and then quickly back out again), they arrived on time to every invigilation session and chatted kindly with each other as they waited for the release of the tasks. Year 12, we enjoyed this time working closely with you, even though separated by distance. We will remember this term with pride in the incredible maturity you brought to online assessment.

When we made the decision to extend the 2021 academic year, I remember working with Year 10 students, again in online briefing sessions, to support them in understanding the options before them and how to deliberately step into responsibility for making good choices. Definitely no disappointment here – the boys were respectful, thoughtful and purposeful in the way they shaped not only their programmes of study, but also their attitudes, to expect excellent learning in the coming term. We will remember this term with great satisfaction in the way in Year 10 embraced new possibilities.

When I remember these things about our students, I am led to then remember the commitment of the Trinity staff to making things as great as possible. Our gratitude to the Housemasters who supported every boy in their care, our gratitude to the Heads of Faculties who managed all the consequences of a shifting landscape to ensure high quality teaching and learning, our gratitude to the teachers who adjusted to remote learning and then adjusted again and again to gauge the needs and moods of classes and respond with ever more creative ways to make remote mode work, our gratitude to the Trinity support staff who simply did whatever was needed, is immense. I remember too, conversations and email exchanges with parents, through which genuine partnership to achieve strong outcomes for students was evident, and kind words were shared. We will remember this term with joy in the community of which we are a part.

There are of course a few more regular pieces of information in this last article for the term … firstly, the Middle and Junior Schools are awaiting the delivery of NAPLAN Reports and anticipate mailing these to parents early in the first week of next term. Secondly, students and parents are reminded that Semester 2 Learning Progress Reports will be produced for the end of the year and will include evidence of learning that is collected during Term 4. Finally, a deep thank you to each family for your support of learning throughout the term, and a heartfelt wish for a marvellous break.

Deborah Williams | Academic Dean


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