It is always exciting to start a new year and this year is no different. I have returned feeling very refreshed after stepping back in time for two weeks on Norfolk Island where life was considerably less frenetic. While I know I wouldn’t want to change most aspects of my life it was good to be reminded that I need to make time to ‘smell the roses’.
The BIG lesson from this and other similar experiences is the undeniable value of prioritising time for the important things in life; a lesson that was reinforced during a professional development workshop during the first few days of school, when all staff participated in an excellent presentation by Dr Justin Coulson, one of Australia’s leading parenting experts.
Dr Coulson, a highly sought-after international speaker and author used his time with us to refocus staff on the importance of maintaining a positive outlook. Throughout the coming months Dr Coulson will work with staff to improve relationships, boost motivation and performance, inspire happiness and enhance wellbeing so that as a school we can build an even more positive environment for ourselves, parents, and most particularly, our students.
As part of this initiative I am planning to provide parents with an opportunity to hear Dr Coulson speak as well, for he not only knows a lot about parenting, but lives it. ‘He is an expert in wrestling his children, sliding down steep hills on cardboard boxes with them, and reading bedtime stories. He has successfully taught each of his children to sleep in their own beds, wear clothing even when it’s hot, use the bathroom, and eat at least some of the food on their plate most of the time’.
If you are interested in finding out more about Dr Coulson, I encourage you to have a look at some of his parenting resources by visiting one of the different websites he contributes to including:
For now, however the key message that we gained from Dr Coulson’s first workshop has been the importance of remaining positive. This was a particularly poignant message for all of us in the light of the recent passing of Ms Karen Thrift, the former Head of the English Department. Ms Thrift’s death has served to remind us all that life is too precious to let any day pass by without embracing each and every opportunity that presents itself.
As educators we are privileged to work with young people who will ‘touch the future’ and it is for us to find ways to instil them with the knowledge, skills and personal attributes they need to embrace each new challenge with confidence and a very real sense of purpose. I can think of no greater responsibility than raising children and we owe young people our support. If we can help every child to discover how to work with their strengths we will help them build wellbeing, increase engagement, improve productivity, and become happier people.
It is pleasing that we have already received so many positive comments from parents in this regard since school resumed. There is nothing more satisfying for a teacher than to know that they are making a difference to the life of a child and that their efforts are appreciated by both their students and by parents, so please keep providing us with feedback. We are very open to hearing how we are going, particularly when it is good but also when there are areas where we can improve.