As I sat in a presentation tonight reflecting on the learning journey the past 18 months has taken me on I had the chance to ponder. I thought about the students I have had in the past two years and the unique opportunity that for some of my students it will be the third student led I will have the opportunity to be present at. What an amazing opportunity? To witness growth of students over 18 months and at the end of the year 24 months! I thought about how far students in my class had come, as I marked assessments and mapped them against scales. I thought about the worry I feel for them at night and the overwhelming desire I have for every single student in my care to succeed.
But as I reflected on the opportunity I was jolted back to reality with parent questions.
Now the questions weren’t wrong, they weren’t abrupt or rude but they caught me off guard. Parents asked about standardised testing to which Greg Miller, our principal responded stating, responded stating that we like any school in NSW follow the NSW curriculum and assess learning outcomes. Now for me visiting the syllabus is almost a daily task. I think about where my students are at, where they ought to be and where I need to push them to be. I discuss with colleagues how some of my students are achieving stage 3 outcomes while others we are working on smaller steps to the stage 2 outcomes. We map these against a rubric (assessment guide) which outlines, in child friendly language, what our students need to do for a task. But suddenly I remembered that in a world surrounded by ‘teacher talk’ sometimes parents want the ‘non-teacher talk’ response.
The syllabus outlines the learning that every school in NSW has to follow to be accredited.
Above the NSW Syllabus is the Australian Curriculum which outlines what Australian schools and students need to teach and know. The NSW syllabus, as mentioned previously, was adapted from this. The NSW Curriculum also has a page on assessment outlining assessment as, of and for learning. Now this may sound like more ‘teacher jargon’ or it might simplify things.
All parents want to know and understand that their child is showing effort and that they are learning the same things as any other student down the road. However, sometimes in all the ‘teacher talk’ we miss the step in outlining that and then moving onto all the extra opportunities your child has at St Luke’s. Yes your child is being taught like any other child down the road but your children also have teachers who:
- map their learning against capabilities and skills which have been tirelessly worked upon by teachers producing the six pillars of learning
- have a knowledge and understanding of the ACARA General Capabilities and use this to have a capabilities focus with your child – always thinking ‘what skills does your child have?
- make their learning goals visible through working with them individually on a student led conference which has been a work in progress over the course of the year
- receive more teacher support in the classroom through a coaching model which puts an expert maths teacher in our space three – four times a week
- everyday have your child’s best interests at heart and cheer them on every single step of the way.
Sometimes the road is long. Sometimes we forget, as teachers, that we need to take a step back and re-explain. Some of us have been on this journey for years. However all of the time know that we think of your children most moments of the day and that we want the absolute best of your children. You just might need to remind us to re-explain.