Leading Teaching and Learning in a Good Samaritan School
Earlier this year, I was lucky enough to attend the “Leading Teaching and Learning in a Good Samaritan School” in-service at the Mount Saint Benedict Centre, Pennant Hills. My colleague, Margaret Heraghty and I didn’t feel lucky sitting in the traffic on Pennant Hills Road at 8am, but the stresses of the morning soon disappeared. There is something about the tranquillity of the Mount Saint Benedict Centre and the ready warm welcome, that makes other concerns fade away.
Representatives of all ten Good Samaritan schools were present. Many different avenues of leadership in teaching and learning were apparent in our initial introductions. “Same same but different” kept ringing in my head as we spoke about our schools, their challenges and their paths to realising the Benedictine values.
We were blessed to have Dr Mark Askew as our guest speaker. He had us thoroughly engaged as he spoke of true leadership and interspersed it with examples from his time in schools, in research, on school boards and with historical input from the Good Samaritan Education Benedictine Pilgrimage. Mark led our learning by incorporating current research and data into his presentation, which cleverly connected with his emphasis on the importance of teacher professional learning. We felt part of his learning journey as he articulated the importance of leadership in school improvement. He called on us all to reflect on the bigger picture and realign ourselves with our mission.
Mark was a hard act to follow but Meg and Monica led us beautifully through stories of the early sisters, their hardships, ingenuity and grit. We can never hear enough of the inspirational stories of these tough, determined and fabulous women. We identified the Benedictine values that resonated with us and used a lotus diagram planning tool to imagine ways we could implement them into our roles, our routines and in establishing “right relationships” within our community.
As always, the day was beautifully balanced by good food, good humour and the chance to make new friends. We were grateful for the opportunity to smell the roses before racing back to school for parent / teacher night and the blur that was the end of a busy semester.
Louise Yeates Director of Curriculum, Stella Maris College