As your new Deputy Principal, it has been humbling to be welcomed so genuinely into this inclusive and vibrant school. I have been impressed by the warmth of the students, the support of the staff and the collective community’s commitment to celebrating all that is unique about TKS. Whilst I am still finding my feet, I am already inspired to work alongside our teachers, students and parents in continuing to build a future-facing learning environment for all.
Prior to arriving at TKS I worked for 14 years in a boys’ school and before that, 9 years in girls’ schools, but my first two years of teaching were in co-educational schools. Returning to a co-educational environment after 25 years has shown me that while there are some things in regards to teaching young people that never change, there has been an enormous shift in the educative landscape, and even more so in the last two years.
As a parent myself, I can attest to the immense challenges our young people have had to endure as they navigated on and off screens and in and out of school during this time. As parents and teachers we have watched our young people struggle, but also discover an untapped well of resilience as they found new ways to learn, to play and to collaborate. Rather than focus on what we lost, I feel the last two years also gifted our children the opportunity to develop a resilience usually forged in adulthood. This resilience will serve them well when they eventually leave our community and move out into the world; for a TKS graduate, this ability to adapt and to be responsive to change is our most ardent hope.
So now we are back. Back on campus, back in class and back reconnecting to all that is wonderful about our school. This reconnection will take time and, in some instances, will need to be facilitated and supported by our teaching and counselling staff. If you feel your child needs more support with their learning or with redeveloping their social skills, please reach out to your relevant Head of School or Head of House so that they are aware of any concerns you may have. The relationship between our school and your home is one that we prioritise as a means of ensuring the holistic education of the whole student.
As Term 1 reaches mid-way and we begin to move into autumn after Omicron cast a shadow over our summer, we are now starting to plan school events and to reschedule and reintroduce ‘the things that were done before’. Next week we will welcome the Senior School parents and carers on site to give them an introduction to the VCE, as well as seeing our Year 7s leave for camp. This week we hosted our first in-person school tour and it was wonderful to see new faces on campus, faces we hope will form new families in our community. These important occasions reflect the momentum that is slowly gathering around school events, and with that momentum comes reconnection. We are continuing to look at covid-safe ways we can re-open our campus and our programs to foster this reconnection through presence, including the Rock Out evening towards the end of term. We know that connection builds community and this is one of TKS’ greatest strengths.
While I am new to TKS and am introducing myself to everyone I meet, it feels like I am not the only one who is doing this. In a way, we all need to reintroduce ourselves to each other, to revisit school expectations and to adjust to new ways of learning and playing. We need to come back to our core values and to put our words into action. We need to mindfully reconnect and we are.
I look forward to an exciting year ahead that brings us all opportunities to learn, to play and to belong to this wonderful community.