Education for Life

From Mrs Connor

It is with mixed emotions that I write my farewell to the Nowra Anglican College community. In my 12 years of service at the College, I have learnt so much and have personally grown in my faith, in my professional life as an educator and a leader, and in who I am as a person. My favourite bible verse, John 10:10 states: “I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.” I believe that I have been truly blessed by God and that he has given me life in abundance.

I am deeply grateful for the opportunities that have been afforded to me as I worked with the staff, students and parents of Nowra Anglican College. It is an absolute privilege to work in leadership in an educational setting and to influence the growth and development of our young people. As one continuously does, and particularly in times of change, I reflect upon my time here at the College and our journey of continuous improvement in providing the best possible environment for learning.

I began teaching Science in the Junior School in 2011, before taking on the role of the Junior School Enrichment Teacher. To meet the diverse learning needs of all students, the NAC EDGE program became a reality. I still remember how proud I was of Stage 3 students learning about poverty in our society, and humbly serving and sharing a meal with people less fortunate than us. We visited and worked closely with community groups to develop empathy and compassion, and to make connections outside the grounds of the school. We researched and wrote stories to demonstrate resilience and kindness, and creatively shared them with Senior School students through our Empathy Museum. We even facilitated real-life Mathematical learning by running a not-for-profit pizza day, where the students worked out the exact cost of cooking enough pizzas to feed every child in the Junior School and sold them at cost price. All this inquiry-based learning was exciting, engaging, memorable and valuable for the students and for their teacher!

When I was appointed the Junior School Teaching and Learning Coordinator, the College embarked on a program designed to improve reading throughout the school with a major focus on comprehension skills. We began our Year 4 Project Based Learning program, engaging with community members to cook biscuits, weave and knit, and learn collaboratively. The Stage 3 focus on Numeracy and Writing saw targeted interventions with flexible grouping options teaching at the point of need. This focus on effort and growth saw students able to distinguish between learning mode and performance mode and identified making mistakes as part of the learning journey.

My appointment as the Director of Teaching and Learning K-12 triggered an even greater hunger for learning. We launched our teaching and learning framework, Building learning Power, and our staff began their learning journey in deeply understanding how to build the capacity in every child to know how to learn and how to provide the optimum environment for learning to flourish. We expanded our teaching to include attitudes and behaviours that support the acquisition of content, knowledge and skills in all different areas of learning. Our aim for every student is to know what to do when they don’t know the answer; to know how to work alone and with others; to be able to think broadly and critically in order to solve problems; to explore the possibilities of what could be by considering ideas and options; to ask questions and to wonder; and to not be deterred when they make a mistake; was becoming our reality. Learning is part of who we are.

As I took on the role of Deputy Principal, Learning and Innovation, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work closely with every member of the teaching staff in a variety of ways. I am in continuous awe of the dedication and commitment of all our staff for the work they do for our students and for each other, in looking for ways to become “even better” educators. This learning community, with a vision for continuous improvement, is vibrant, creative, proactive and at the forefront of education.

Our mission to ensure that every child is valued and belongs, and has the opportunity to grow and learn, is truly evident at Nowra Anglican College. The support and direction from the leadership team within the College has facilitated this deep commitment to wellbeing and learning and to every one of them, at every level, I am truly grateful. My life is richer for having worked alongside so many of you.

As I begin the next chapter of my life journey, I know I will miss the opportunities to share the joys, the challenges, and the interactions with so many students and so many people. I know that Nowra Anglican College will continue to flourish as a learning community, focused on growing young people who know the love of God through Jesus. Thank you for being part of my story and allowing me to be interwoven in yours. May God bless you and fill your lives with laughter, love, happiness and kindness.

Therese Connor

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