The Importance of Culture
April 1, 2021
Our School is a wonderful place and that has been so clearly demonstrated as we conclude our first term for 2021. One such demonstration was ArtsFest and the ArtsFest Showcase that occurred last week in the Senior School. I have a very clear memory of my first ever Arts`Fest at TIGS, I was just astonished at the way our culture was on display. What I observed was a safe, connected and relational community that not only valued excellence but also nurtured developing talent and provided opportunities for TIGS students to be broad and diverse participants in their School community. I vividly recall thinking that this was something special and something that I wanted to be a part of protecting and strengthening.
As I participated in this unique TIGS tradition this year I was reminded once again of all that is wonderful about our School. This was made even more significant by the fact that this was our first opportunity as a Senior School to come together as a whole School as COVID-19 restrictions relaxed just in time for this annual event. So what did I see that was so very impressive?
The event was completely student-led. Our students wrote, choreographed, rehearsed and performed every item. It was collaborative, lead by our Year 12 students but also relying on others in different grades with skills and insight to share. There was a generosity of skill and support; with students teaching each other and enjoying sharing their talent and expertise. Finally, there was equal if not more recognition for those who were still developing their skills and confidence as for those who were already very expert indeed. I heard our school community “willing on” a Year 7 or Year 8 student who had experienced a glitch in their performance and cheering as they completed their piece with as much enthusiasm as they showed for those who were far more experienced and proficient. It was a safe place to be courageous and step out onto the stage for everyone.
This event demonstrates our culture in action and this culture begins right back in the earliest years of our School. You can see it in the Junior School as our youngest learners feel safe to lead assembly or perform at a music recital. It was apparent to me on Monday when a Year 1 student arrived in my office to “have a meeting”. He brought himself up to the Senior School to talk with me and wanted to know what I had been working on to make our school great, whether swimming was happening on Tuesday (which I couldn’t tell him!) and then he wanted to pray for me and his teachers – which he did. Now I’m not certain of the reason that he decided this meeting was necessary. It may have been a memory of when Kindergarten come up to the Senior School and look at what various people at their school do to make their school a great place to learn, but it was just delightful to see our culture in action – confident, engaged young people who feel known cared for and safe and as a result, who flourish.
This flourishing extends to academic progress also. It is very well understood that learners need to feel safe, known and cared for in order to learn well. The culture of our school as well as the opportunities to experience and reinforce that culture in exciting and enjoyable ways flows over into every classroom, peer interaction and every learning opportunity.
The TIGS family can look back at a fabulous term of learning and community in Term I with great satisfaction and possibly a little bit of weariness as it certainly has been busy! I do thank our students, staff and parents for a fantastic Term I and wish each one of you a happy and safe term break remembering the great promise of new life that is celebrated at Easter. I look forward to seeing you all back on campus in Term II.