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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Power of Valuing People

Scotto and I have been down here on the Gold Coast for three (and a bit) months and although I was worried about securing a job, I’ve actually managed to work for almost the entire of second term. 

The first school, where I spent a month teaching drama, was lovely (albeit stressful), but the second school where I’ve been teaching a grade 6 class for the last month has been positively amazing.

Despite having to hide the fact I was suffering the agony of shingles in the neck and head (of which I think I’m finally at the end of that dark tunnel of hell by the way), the entire experience has been absolutely wonderful.

The school had me sitting in professional development training workshops for twelve hours (during school time) while a relief teacher relieved the relief teacher (me).

How amazing is that? They were paying me to learn.

The teachers are friendly, the students are intelligent, capable and caring and the tuckshop food is indisputably the best I’ve encountered.

There’s a coffee shop in the carpark that sells real cappuccinos. I could get a take-away if I wanted for my drive back up the mountain. 

I have a multi-million dollar view from my classroom. 

Instead of a dusty old car park which I would previously have stared wistfully at, seeking out my car, wishing I was in it driving home at high speed, I now look out at a lake with swans and pelicans and other water loving birdies gliding over its pristine surface. I feel like I’m in a fairy tale princess palace set on a verdant and majestic hillock (whatever a hillock is).

There’s something VERY different about this school.

Not only do they seem to have a strong sense of value and respect for their students’ mental, physical and academic welfare, they also seem to deeply care about their teachers, even the scabby old relief teacher who’s staggered in from North Queensland with her piece of paper from Yokel's 'R Us University* and a handful of dodgy references**.

It was because I felt so appreciated right from the very first day at this school that I suffered through the torture of errant, shooting nerve pain and turned up every day with a twisted, agonised smile on my face. 

It was because I felt respected as a professional that I didn’t just call in sick and be done with it. It was because of the faith my employer had put in me that I didn’t let them down.

I believe this school follows the philosophy that if you value people, they will live up to your expectations.

It makes me wonder what else I can do for my students to show them how much they’re respected and what results it might produce.


*Actually a normal university I was just being silly.
** References are not at all dodgy except for maybe one.