These are definitely interesting times that we live in. Taking on the role of Head of Teaching and Learning at the College, when I was coming from a different educational sector was always going to be a busy start. Adding to this the rapidly changing scene with COVID-19 and the impact this has on teaching and learning, it is safe to say we’ve all had a busy start.

What has been clear to me from an early stage is how welcoming the College is and the strong collegial approach amongst staff. I’ve had a steep learning curve of learning names of students and staff, getting to know people and supporting them with teaching and learning. Needless to say, the nurturing approach that the school provides has supported me in my transition and I have been made to feel quite at home.

The recent focus on remote learning to support families who are self-isolating has been interesting. The anxiety levels of parents needing to support their students at home in their learning, is matched by the anxiety levels of teachers who have never needed to deliver learning remotely. Teachers naturally want to do the best for their students at all year levels – add to this the pressure of getting students through their SACE and the current situation can be overwhelming.

A range of technologies have been selected to support learning, this includes live Zoom calls, watch anytime videos, online content in SEQTA and Google G-suite. This has meant a steep learning curve for teachers along with a huge time commitment as they digitise their current learning materials and resources.

Our team, however, is rising to the occasion. Strong leadership and collegiate staff supporting each other have come together to provide the best opportunities for your children, developing new content, training other staff, supporting other staff and learning the new online platforms.

I have just walked out of a classroom of those remaining students at school to discover an impromptu Zoom meeting between a student at home and a student in the classroom. They were supporting each other with maths to ensure they both understood the concepts they were learning.

This collaborative, supportive attitude is embedded into the culture of the College and is evident everywhere that you look. I am proud to be a member of the St Martins Community and believe that we truly are “Stronger Together”.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labour:

If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.

 

Jason Plunkett

Head of Teaching and Learning