Mrs Heidi Senior
It has been a joy and a privilege to return to the College that I first walked into twenty years ago as a rookie teacher. So many things have changed since that day in 2000, and yet some things are unaltered - the humourous readiness of the boys, the sense of history and pride, and the pervasive commitment to social justice remain like old friends.
And yet, so much has changed. There are realities today that would never have even entered my imagination then. Digital technology is simultaneously indispensable and distracting. We know more than ever about the world; research can be shared with a few clicks of a mouse. Better than any time in history, we understand how young people learn, and the strategies to support this.
My commitment is to work with every staff member at St Virgil’s to engage as professional learners, to understand each boy in our care and persist in the craft of teaching. Likewise, I am committed to supporting and challenging every boy who walks through our gates to learn whether it be in great leaps and bounds or in small, hard-won steps.
The toolkit our young men need for this task of learning is a complex one. I ask our parents and our teachers to work together with their sons to help them make sure they have everything they need:
- There are the practical necessities of books and pens and devices. Something as simple as arriving to class without a pen can sometimes be enough to scuttle what could have been a great lesson.
- The boys need good organisational strategies to keep on top of their learning. Colour coded folders to keep books in order or scheduled time for study, reading and rest to ensure each happen in manageable balance are good examples.
- Attitude and mindset are perhaps the most important things. Too often, I see boys unprepared to have a go at a task or an activity because they suspect they will fail or make a mistake. Instead, every case of uncertainty is a learning opportunity presenting itself. There is no point in school if a student already knows what to do and how to do it. The glory is in the trial and error, the shaky first goes and the gradual mastery. In other words, the willingness to do the hard work of learning.
Please also, I warmly encourage you to make contact with me if you would like to discuss any matter concerning your son and his time at SVC. I am best reached via email firstname.lastname@example.org and would also welcome a phone call or a meeting at school.