High School & Senior College Focus

Celebrating Teachers’ depth of knowledge and skills

Teachers in the Senior School are identified by what they teach. I am an economist, and I have taught Economics and Geography for a lot of my teaching life. Teachers will share knowledge and a conceptual understanding of disciplines in which they have a passion. Of course, we teach students and value the holistic relationship we have with students and learning, however, what has often drawn us to teaching is the love for our subject or craft.

The teachers in the Senior School at Orana invest hours each week mastering their own craft. This helps them to continually develop skills, keeps them fresh and motivated, and allows them to model the importance of life – long learning for our students. For example, some of our teachers prepare art pieces and photographs for exhibitions, have had professional businesses and practices, they build furniture, coordinate sporting events and run coaching programmes, conduct guided tours in Canberra about our nation’s history and wildlife, perform in Drama productions, sit on literature review boards and panels, produce jewellery, perform reconnaissance hikes for future camps, run their own farms and sustainably manage properties, sit on governing boards and support community groups.

The depth of skill our teachers have developed, the experience they bring to the School and the level of commitment they show when striving to achieve mastery, far surpasses what normally exists in other schools. Our students benefit from having teachers who come to the classes with lived experiences and a spirit of learning which is constantly being enriched and nurtured. Not only do students benefit, but staff also share experiences with each other. Orana is lucky indeed. I wonder if our community would like greater access to the activities our staff practise, and thus share in this lived experience?

Student successes and reflections

The end of the term often comes with a level of exhaustion, and it is easy for people, (students and teachers alike) to focus on missed opportunities and what has not been achieved. However, I had the pleasure of speaking with a wonderful group of students who were too willing to share the successes they have achieved over recent weeks:

Duke of Edinburgh featured highly – completing hikes and completing awards, and thanks must go to Jen, Nick, Isabella and Emily for their support on these camps.

Other areas students reflected positively on were:

  • learning to become more organised getting all assessments in on time and done well
  • improving in a Maths test
  • succeeding in an English essay, a task which the student finds difficult
  • the pride felt in the quality of a Sports Science Report
  • enjoying learning different ways to draw
  • seeking feedback and completing the Year 12 Project report with a sense of pride
  • reading a novel which student would not have chosen for themselves, (and actually enjoying it)
  • performing well at violin concerts
  • participated in the Rowing Camp, rowing up to 19 km in a session
  • participating in Netball grand finals
  • achieving personal best times in the National Swimming championships
  • gained selection in interstate Baseball team.

We need to take time to share in the successes and celebrate the pride students have in their own work. Orana is a school filled with capable and talented students, and it is a pleasure to be surrounded by them each day.