Friday 3rd November, 2017
Former professional engineer Sarah Cooper has been teaching for four years, with the past six months being at OneSchool’s Melbourne campus. Her teaching journey has one important aspect to it – collaboration.
“My favourite part about working at OneSchool is the collaborative nature of both the staff and the students,” she says. “Everyone is enabled to work collaboratively and embraces the need to do so for the good of everyone. I enjoy being a part a team that thinks about how it interacts with everyone, not just the members of one campus. Everyone is mindful of the impacts or benefits on and for all.”
Although campuses are smaller than other schools she has taught at, Sarah thinks this is not only advantageous but has worked in her favour.
“My experience has been in very large schools where one is just a part of a larger wheel that is turning,” she says. “The main difference between working at Glenvale School and other schools is again, the collaborative culture and the size of the school. I have visited and worked at other campus sites and the collaborative culture is strong and that is not something I have experienced before.”
As for OneSchool being a champion of both the virtual classroom and self-directed learning, Sarah has found both experiences have influenced the way she teaches.
“VC has impacted my teaching in ways I did not imagine,” she says. “Because this is so different, I had thought this to be limiting in that I am not able to have an active classroom as much as I would like but I can see the benefits of this method of teaching as it is driving my VC students to be more responsible perhaps they might have to be if they were in the classroom with me and the rest of the students. They are stepping up and are willing to work with me and they have a good attitude about it.
“As for SDL, it has also impacted my teaching in a way I did not anticipate. I was under the impression the students embraced their SDL time as learning time. I find the students need to be actively taught how to use their time for learning in these periods, to realise the responsibility they have been given and to be accountable to themselves about their learning and about how they are spending their SDL time.”
Both students and parents at the school have left a positive impression on Sarah. The students are open to try new things, and the parents are very supportive and actively engaged in their children’s learning.
“I find the students to be great to work with,” says Sarah. “I enjoy their mature approach to their studies and the way they interact with me on a daily basis. They enjoy the opportunity for discussion and problem solving. The students recognise the need to be respectful of each other more broadly and appreciate the need to be respectful in class. In all of my dealings with parents so far, I would like to see more attendance at parent/teacher Interviews to ensure that both students and their parents are able to engage with me in face-to -face discussions about the learning and strategies moving forward. With parents now able to meet via VC, it will make it easier to have these important conversations.”
Overall, Sarah is impressed with how the school is run and how the students are not only actively engaged in learning, but seem to have a big picture attitude towards the community as a whole and what OneSchool is trying to achieve scholastically.
“I have been very impressed by the level of enthusiasm and energy there is about the school,” she says. “The students are amazingly engaged in the wider school community and their level of involvement and support of everything else that happens, besides the academic side of things, is astounding. I marvel at the participation levels in all aspects of the school day and anything extra that is happening. The students work well together to make things happen and there is always so much happening. It is a vibrant learning space where everyone is encouraging of each other, striving to be their best and collaborating so that they can all be their best.”