Fears and phobias have rarely been a feature in my life, especially as a child. I have always been largely unfazed by heights, the dark, needles and creatures that crawl or slither. It was not until I became a parent that suddenly the world took on a new dimension where previously innocuous things like corners of furniture, pots cooking on the stove, power plugs and even stairs became hazards to be navigated with caution.
This was particularly true when travelling on public transport with four small children; manoeuvring little legs and a double pram and the enormous gap between the platform and the train, that I had rarely noticed before, was suddenly a significant feat! “Mind the gap” was an understatement; every entrance and exit off the train felt like a death trap waiting for one of my offspring to stumble down a deep perilous cavern.
Hyperbole aside, what had once been an easy gap to negotiate by keeping my eyes up and one foot in front of the other suddenly took on a whole new perspective. So too, the return to campus learning may suddenly feel like a perilous leap of uncertainly, with many parents, educators, researchers, and commentators concerned about the gaps in learning that may now exist as a result of Online Learning. Despite the diligence of both teachers and parents to maintain an awareness of where students are up to, the gaps that exist are likely invisible to many, but felt as a genuine challenge for our students.
It has been delightful to witness our littlest campus incumbents confidently chortling around the playground this week. They have reconnected with friends, teachers, and significant College staff to ensure they know where the canteen is, how to access First Aid and meet Mrs Garratt. They’ve relearned how to cross the carpark and find their parents at the Kiss ‘n Go. In class, expectations have been re-established and much fun and laughter has been shared. Those gaps are already closing. For Year 12 we’ve coordinated a week of practice exams and seminars to help close the gaps of examination technique and refine expression and content to maximise their success in an unparalleled final year of high school.
I am continually impressed by the commitment of our teaching team across all sections of the College, and their capacity to pivot and adjust their programs to cater for the new season of learning that Term 4 presents. We will be working to ‘mind the gap’ to the point where looking down at the missed learning no longer feels like a deep cavern but a threshold that students can confidently step across, eyes up and secure in the knowledge that our Lord has already mapped this path for them. Donut Day was a reminder to us all of the assurance that our children will be provided for: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God (Philippians 4:6). So whilst the fears and phobias of what returning to school may look and feel like may overwhelm at times, be assured that staff will be working with care to help students close the gap and step forward in their learning with confidence.
Linda Hogan Director of Secondary Teaching and Learning