From the Principal

Education is a matter of trust


Research from Monash University has found the role of teachers continues to be recognised as important and influential in developing students’ social and emotional development – which became even more important during COVID-19 remote learning. A 2021 Ipsos poll reveals that doctors are considered the world’s most trustworthy profession….  Across 28 markets around the world, a Global Country Average of 64% rate doctors as trustworthy, followed by scientists at 61% and teachers at 55%.

“Teachers who foster positive relationships with their students create classroom environments conducive to learning and meet students’ developmental, emotional and academic needs.” American Psychological Association, 2020

That means that people in Australia, generally, trust teachers. Hopefully, they also trust schools.

When we discuss trust in school terms, we are talking about:

  • knowing that the school will act in specific ways and be dependable;
  • showing an ongoing expertise and professionalism in all we do;
  • maintaining positive relationships by staying in touch with the issues and concerns of others;
  • balancing our efforts to get great results with an active concern for the wellbeing of those in our community;
  • cooperating, collaborating and communicating;
  • trying to resolve any conflict as effectively as possible;
  • using good judgement when making decisions;
  • anticipating and responding quickly when problems arise;
  • standing up for what we believe in;
  • aligning our words and our actions.

In the end, trust is fundamental to our core mission of educating students. Thankfully, in our school, parents can send their children to our school, trusting that they will be safe from harm, as well as guided and taught in keeping with our highest hopes for them.

If you are still wondering whether St Columba is worthy of your trust, here are some examples of how we operate:

  • Our teachers have a thorough and up-to-date knowledge of their subjects and a deep understanding of how students learn particular subjects. 
  • Our teachers know their students well: their individual interests, backgrounds, motivations and learning styles.
  • We talk about effective learning and what constitutes good teaching — in particular how professional teacher knowledge, practice and engagement works in our school.
  • We have strong and effective school leaders whose primary focus is on establishing a culture of learning throughout the school. 
  • We aim to build partnerships within our community and beyond the school in pursuit of excellent education.
  • We have high expectations for our students and know how to motivate them and help them succeed. High expectations are set for student learning, whether in classrooms or other learning contexts. There is a deep belief in the ability of every student to learn and to achieve high standards with appropriate and sensitive teaching.
  • Class time is used as learning time; classrooms are engaging and busy and interruptions to learning are discouraged.
  • We recognise and celebrate successful learning and high achievement.
  • We have an involved staff who work together, pushing themselves and their students to be the best.
  • We focus on creating a warm climate, where students feel welcome and know that the staff cares about them, leading to a strong sense of belonging and pride.
  • Our school is one where students must respect others and failure to do so cannot be tolerated. Our students understand school and class rules and expectations, and adhere to them. When discipline is necessary, it is not vindictive, but just a consequence when a student does not do what is required.

Not all parents have exactly the same expectations of our school and some parents have different priorities for their children. But we believe all our parents look to our school to promote values such as respect for others, honesty, tolerance, fairness and the pursuit of excellence. In fact, we accept that our school, as well as providing access to knowledge and skills, is charged with keeping and promoting our society’s shared values and ideals, such as respect, tolerance, opportunity and democracy.

Taking all the above into account, you can see developing trust is not only important, it is achieved by constant hard work.

Want to share your thoughts on this story, or do you have something you’d like to add? Email me at principal@scas.nsw.edu.au

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