A Term to remember
September 17, 2021
It is hard to believe that we are at the end of Term III, and what a term it has been. In many ways it’s quite sad not to be looking back at vibrant events, sporting success, and all the wonderful things that take place in the TIGS calendar during more normal times. However, as I reflect on the Term that was, there are so many things that bring me joy. We could characterise this Term by its challenges. Or the things that were lost or that we were prevented from doing. But as I reflect on the last nine weeks, I am most deeply convicted by the things that we have learned, and the myriad of ways that we have seen innovation bloom in response to challenge.
The author Jamie Notter is quoted as saying that “innovation is change that unlocks new value” and this definition perfectly captures what I see as being the defining successes of Term III. Karla, in Year 7 sums this up wonderfully:
“Our teachers have worked super hard this term to transition us into a Zoom School. I was surprised by how easy it was to move to Zoom and how the teachers have still made amazing classes during this hard time. From History, to English, to Maths – they have all been fun and exciting.”
Over the last nine weeks we have sought to transition a range of important events into a remote setting; Parent-Teacher Interviews, the Year 8 Subject Selection Evening and Year 10 Academic Counselling are some of the regular Senior School events that we have taken online this term. The feedback we’ve received has confirmed the approaches have been successful and effective in providing students and their families with the information they need.
For nearly 45 days, our teachers and students have engaged in thousands of remote lessons. Finding creative ways to undertake their learning and teaching whilst collectively making increasingly sophisticated use of the collaborative tools available to us. The ‘km Challenge’ that has inspired participation and activity in students and their families from right across our school community is a great example of the way in which we have sought ways to beat the lockdown-blues and the frustration of being separated from our friends and colleagues.
As part of this Term’s learning, teachers have had to find answers to the question of how Stage 6 Assessment Tasks can be undertaken online whilst ensuring the assessments are rigorous, equitable and as far as possible, carefully designed to avoid the wealth of possible problems that could arise. I already had high expectations, but I have to commend our students for the way in which they approached these assessments and to express my deep gratitude to our teachers for the abundant creativity they have shown in responding not only to the challenges of online assessments, but to the wider and sustained challenges inherent in seeking to engage, stimulate and motivate students.
Next Term, we will remain in our remote learning mode for the first half of Term. Our Year 12 students, preparing for postponed HSC Examinations will become TIGS first, and quite possibly only, cohort of Year 13 students, our Year 11 students will commence their HSC courses, and their final year as TIGS students. Our community will prepare for a return to onsite learning in the second half of the term. We are ready and prepared for the challenges ahead and looking forward to continuing our learning together. Until then, I hope the school holiday will provide you and your family with rest and refreshment. Take care.