As we take very tentative steps now out of full lockdown, it’s tempting to focus merely on what might have been and to grieve for the many events not held and normal expectations not reached. What a year it has been!
And then, the conversation often goes “Bet you wish you’d finished last year?” “What a terrible year to finish on!”
Not so! I would never have chosen to miss this one. This has been a year like no other, not merely because we have managed the impact of a pandemic across all our operations. Rather it has been a year where beyond measure, we have witnessed such an amazing commitment to community, by students, teachers, staff and parents.
During the weeks of online classes, through regular surveys, students and teachers provided feedback. Parents observed classes like never before, and in emails, phone calls, at meetings or in forum discussions, new levels of discernment of learning achievements, progression points and support needs were evident.
Most of us are feeling more hopeful this week as case numbers seem finally on the downward trajectory. Thankfully some restrictions are easing - a relief as lockdown fatigue threatens otherwise to upset the welcome steps out of lockdown. Ongoing border tensions challenge the early message of being #allinthistogether.
But our students have saved the day, the year, the school. Beyond their own huge advance in adaptability, resilience, independent learning, their gratitude for the heroic and stoic efforts of their teachers is quite extraordinary. Exemplary. And so gratefully received. Teachers have never before worked harder, longer and with such collaboration and creativity.
Survey responses frequently included personal expressions of appreciation to particular teachers. For the end of term, the Year 10 SRC presented their teachers with a booklet, filled with expressions of gratitude. In all my years of working in schools, I have never witnessed such an outpouring of gratitude.
“Thank you to all the teachers for their organisation and enthusiasm, you all put in so much effort into each class and make sure we are all OK.”
“Hey Year 10 teachers! Thank you all so much for the effort you’ve put in and continue to put in this year. Isolation and COVID-19 really hit us hard but you continually inspire me each day to keep pushing on.”
“We deeply appreciate the energy you put into every class and are so grateful for your patience and persistence in making this work. We are so lucky and thankful for all of you.”
For this reason alone, as I complete twenty years at Mater Christi College, I feel proud and privileged to be part of such a compassionate and thoughtful student community.
We know from St Benedict that ‘a good word is better than the best gift’. Across the suburbs and throughout networks, especially in this difficult time, we are all inspired by reports of acts of kindness, of people ‘shining their light for others’.
As we work through this final fourth term, I hope that we never forget the lessons of gratitude from our ‘COVID efforts’ and pray that we
Be joyful in hope
Patient in affliction
Faithful in prayer (Romans 12:12)
Never has it been more true that we have seen something truly wonderful #togetherapart.