As 2020 comes to an end, I will reflect on the year that was, and share some notable experiences of my first year teaching at St. Luke’s Catholic College.
First Impressions of St. Luke’s Catholic College
I quickly noticed that St. Luke’s is different, but in a good way! It is a school where there are no bells, facilities are amazing, construction still taking place, myself teaching 1:30; as I was accustomed to the 2:60 model at St. Michael’s, the tracking of Pillars, Activities Club, and more!
Tracking of Pillars
At St. Luke’s, there is an expectation for teachers to track the Pillars of Learning, which can be simplified with the above diagram. This is something new for me, however, appropriate and understandable, as it is relatable to all students’ daily lives.
The tracking of Pillars during PE was made simple through my short, but valuable experience in the classroom setting last year. Larissa Prested, my teaching partner, utilised and informed me of a tracking system, to assess and observe our students, across various Key Learning Areas (KLA), and that particular system, was applied to track the Pillars of Learning in PE.
Another notable experience is Activities Club, or commonly known as ‘Before & After School Care’. Activities Club at St. Luke’s is led by teachers; who are the conductors of various activities based on our 6 Pillars of Learning, and assisted by Activities Club Teacher Assistants. This is something I thoroughly enjoyed, as it allowed me to create teaching activities based on the Pillars of Learning, rather than Outcomes, which we are so accustomed to as teachers. This enabled me to get outside my comfort zone, as it gave me the opportunity to create activities from different KLAs other than PE.
2020 will always be remembered as the year that Coronavirus/COVID-19 hit the world. This had an impact on daily lives across the world, and schools were affected globally. The ‘lockdown’ period forced us to change the way we approached teaching, and that was through various online mediums. When reflecting back to the Isolation period, for me as a Primary PE Teacher, I felt helpless. Why? Because the connection, teaching moments/opportunities, and providing immediate feedback was taken away from me, in a subject which is so dominated by practical movements, and observations of these movements are critical for student progression.
‘Cultivating Community’ – Social Teacher Tournament & Student Handball Tournament
In a big community of staff and students, it was important to bring people together. So with a close colleague, and my love of sport, games and activities, we decided to collaborate, and form a Social Teacher Tournament, and a Student Handball Tournament. Joseph Borg, or informally known as ‘Zou Zou’, and I, created weekly events where staff members could come together one afternoon to play socially in a mixture of sports. The aim of this was to ‘cultivate community’, between all staff members in a relaxed, vibrant and enjoyable environment, whilst experiencing the benefits of physical activity.
A similar approach was required for students too. So a common game during Recess and Lunch Times of ‘Handball’, was at the forefront of our Tournament for students. In a year where sport was eradicated from the calendar, this tournament brought some sporting experiences and excitement for students, and teachers too. Special mention must go to Mr Malcolm Hegarty, who dominated the Netball and Handball Courts, some would say, “you can’t buy experience”.
Coffee Club & Close Friends
Last notable experience for the year was the friendships that were formed with colleagues. In particular; Joe Borg, Jamie Matson, Stephanie Ghislain and I, formed our own Coffee Club, and this Coffee Club developed into a close friendship where laughs, positivity, and the endless banter, took over the conversations at, and outside of St. Luke’s. Friendships like these make teaching at St. Luke’s that much more exciting each day!
In conclusion, 2020 was different, and a year to remember with all the highs and lows of what Coronavirus forced us to do, or can’t do, in the teaching world. Nonetheless, it was a year where I was placed outside of my comfort zone in many ways, which I will be forever grateful for. I am excited for next year already. In 2021, I aim to be better than this year; I will continually engage students in PE lessons, I will provide them with the best learning experiences, and, I will provide them opportunities to grow and further develop their movement skills. But until then, rest is required, so, Bronte Beach, here I come!