What do you enjoy?
I am sure that as you finished the opening line, your mind was drifting to those activities that bring you happiness and provide you with a great sense of satisfaction. I know my thoughts immediately went to a table of fine food, friends and family.
But what brings you truly great joy?
The delight you experience when something lifts your heart and boosts your mood to a point of utter fulfilment. Now that’s a slightly different set of thoughts and heartfelt memories. If you pause and reflect on the last week there will no doubt be a moment (be it fleeting minutes or perhaps sustained for a few hours) where you felt the dopamine “kick in” and the exhilaration of purpose, take you to the next level of happiness.
My moment happened on Thursday morning.
The day began at 7:30 am when I met with members of the Junior Campus leadership team and the Board Infrastructure Committee to commence the masterplan process for the Junior Campus. We visited and assessed each classroom, playground and amenities and deliberated on their current use and how they support our well-being and academic goals. We could have quite easily slipped into highlighting maintenance needs and developed a negative mindset that slipped into solution mode for short-term problem-solving as a “quick fix” response. But we didn’t. Instead, I was in awe of the inspiring stories of experience and pride that teachers felt and shared with us about their learning spaces. The reflections on how the spaces were used to support not just a lesson plan but the broader intentional framework of learning. The team talked about our young people, their needs and how we might create opportunities for all of them. The future-focused conversation enabled us to complete the first stage of planning, in readiness to meet with design professionals as we reimagine the site. The acquisition of the greenspace and High Street property has given us momentum to start work towards the development of a world-class Junior Campus, with fit-for-intended-purpose buildings that will be underpinned by a strong educational narrative and shaped by our emerging strategy. Of course, there is much work to be done in consultation with students, their families and our generous benefactors to make the dreams a reality over the next 5 years. But that walkaround for me was just the start of an inspirational moment.
After the two-hour walkaround and discussion of what next, I was able to briefly observe our intrepid team of 5 students who are going to Hobart this weekend for the Tournament of Minds finals. Wow, the brain power and creativity of these young people were a testament to the power of what happens when you challenge their minds. Their solutions to a complex problem and the power of thinking displayed was visible learning at its finest. We wish the team well, knowing that they will give their best effort and do our School proud. My mind then flashed back to the happenings I had witnessed over the last hour. Grade 6 heading off to the new UTAS library (a learning nirvana) to work on their PYP Exhibition Inquiry – the culmination of learning for their final year, where inquiring minds, deep thinking, creative problem solving, and student ownership of their learning become a stimulating presentation and celebration of cleverness!
I have also witnessed the Grade 5 musical “Seussical” set, props and costumes – a great show in the making. The Grade 5’s weren’t rehearsing at the time though, because as I departed, they were returning to campus from an amazing session at Launceston Institute of Fitness and Training (LIFT) supporting their inquiry into the concepts of physiological growth and development. This self-awareness will serve them well as they enter adolescence, where a better understanding of the impact of physical and psychological growth helps them ride the waves of change. I also witnessed the Kinder students engage in their PE lesson which was replete with physical obstacles, balance challenges and a lot of fun. The day prior, I saw the Grade 1 students leaving the Senior Campus after having a session with our Agriculture team and learning more about the journey of produce from seed to plate – cross-campus connections at its finest.
As I travelled to the Senior Campus to meet with the Archives volunteer team, I felt an almost overwhelming sense of pride and happiness. How did I wind up in this amazing school surrounded by this hive of motivating learning activities? My mind raced ahead, imagining how brilliant it will be when we elevate this remarkable learning with facilities that will further support our students. My sense of joy and purpose was fulfilled on that beautiful spring day. That memory and feeling will serve me well over the coming months and years because it captured all that I truly love about education: our students in the centre of their learning, being supported to learn in ways and means that will develop them academically, physically, social and emotionally, spiritually and psychologically as they grow into amazing humans with the capacity to experience great joy in their lives!