CEWA educators reflect on learnings from Kimberley classes

During Term One, new staff members from CEWA schools across the Kimberley region traveled to Broome for orientation. 

With most Broome Diocese schools serving small communities, a lack of local relief teachers presented an opportunity for CEWA teachers and consultants from elsewhere in the State to take their classes for a few days, helping out the schools and students while gaining valuable insight and experience. 

Many of them wrote about their experiences for the benefit of colleagues in the form of a blog on the Teaching and Learning SharePoint site, and some of their reflections are shared here. 

Wendy Manners, CEWA Early Years Consultant
Birlirr Ngawiyiwu Catholic School, Ringer Soak.

Children begin arriving at school around 7.00am and brekky is soon served. After some outdoor fitness, the children move to their classrooms and change into their school clothes which symbolically prompts the children that they are putting on their “at school” attitude now. After a quick hair brush, teeth are cleaned and we are set to start the day!

As the school gathers to begin and end the day we chant to remember that “Here at BNCS, We are Strong, We are Smart and We are Happy Jaru Ngawi Kids!”

Walking from Ringer Soak community to Healing Waters

 

Toni Strong, Holy Cross College Learning Area Coordinator – English
Sacred Heart School, Beagle Bay 

I jumped in feet first to relief teaching this week at Sacred Heart School. My flying three day visit has been so rewarding. I am amazed by the staff community. Their shared commitment to the well-being of the students is evident every moment of the day. 

The journey to Beagle Bay was an experience in itself. But the real highlight was the students themselves. They bring energy and enthusiasm and authenticity to every moment in the classroom.

My three days felt like far longer and just so enriching in ways far different to a city classroom. I’m left wondering how it could be possible to feels so welcomed and so much a part of the school in three days? I can only say that if you are considering remote teaching, and if you are at a place in your life where you are flexible and able to travel, then it is a really worthwhile thing to do.

Sacred Heart’s connection with the Nyul Nyul people and culture is strong, visible and authentic. The teaching assistants from the local community lead cultural lessons, providing the content and resources. The links with culture and language are embraced by the whole school and students (and teachers) are clearly stronger for it.

 

Casey Bakunowicz and Gerard Pol, CEWA Aboriginal Education consultants
John Pujajangka-Piyirn Catholic School, Mulan 

Casey: 

The view of the lake as you fly into Mulan is spectacular. The lake is full for the first time in over a decade, so the people here are happy. When we talked to some of the Elders today they told us how much they are looking forward to taking the little kids to the lake. Some of them have never seen it full. We set up the water play in the early years today and the kids got to describe all the things they like to do at the lake…

The kids in Mulan love coming to school. They love it so much that we celebrated 100% attendance this week. We loved coming to their school too. It has truly been a privilege to be at John Pujajangka-Piyirn Catholic School. We will miss sharing breakfast with the kids every morning, hearing about their adventures at the lake, learning together and celebrating their achievements.

Sunset at Mulan

Gerard: 

High expectations played on my mind today… Who sets the expectations, and why?

I know what I expect of the students I teach, but I’m also aware that much of it is mirrored by my beliefs about success...

For these expectations, how enduring ought they be? Until the student leaves class at the end of the day, school year, or by graduating?

What are the expectations of these now children, when adulthood arrives? Who are we as educators, if our investment in each student expires the day they (or in this case, we) leave the classroom?

 

Montana Bogoni, St Joseph’s School, Northam Teacher
Holy Rosary School, Derby 

After arriving in Broome on Wednesday I headed out to Derby. The drive was lovely, as everything is quite lush during the wet season. 

First day teaching, the heat was quite intense, I was very grateful for the aircon! Holy Rosary school is lovely, the grounds are beautiful and filled with grasshoppers and other weird and wonderful bugs. 

Before I left Perth, I asked my Year 5 class to write letters to the students in Derby, asking questions and talking about themselves. I read these to the students in Derby and they immediately wanted to write back. It was great to see them engage with this activity and connect with students they had never met. Something as simple as a shared love of basketball made them so excited.

Sunset over the water in Derby

 

Antonella Poncini, CEWA Religious Education Consultant
St Mary’s College, Broome   

The opportunity to teach at St Mary’s College Broome exceeded expectations.

The first of the highlights was the spectacular landscape, visible from the plane. The red and patterned terrain got deeper and deeper as we travelled up the west coast.

Touching down, I was warmly welcomed by a humid breeze.
I was greeted by a multicultural community made up of students with joyful personalities… throughout the two days of teaching, I was exposed to the students’ enthusiasm for sharing their stories and learning from others. In addition, the students’ collective faith in our God made for inspiring conversations which will remain embedded in my memory. 

Coming in to land in Broome

 

Lynn Tomlinson, CEWA Religious Education Consultant
Warlawurru Catholic Primary School, Red Hill 

I was so excited to have the opportunity to head back to the classroom for a few days, but unsure of what to expect. Relief teaching is always a journey into the unknown, but with two flights and an overnight stop between home and Warlawurru, this was relief teaching on a whole different level.   

The school community was so welcoming to this complete stranger who arrived amongst them in the middle of the school day.  

Over the next couple of days, I got to know the students in Room 3. They loved being read to, were keen to share their knowledge and answer questions during mat time, loved to draw pictures or colouring in and Mathletics on the iPads was a huge favourite! There was also a huge interest in making and flying paper airplanes. So, on Thursday afternoon Room 3 and Room 4 had a ‘plane off’ to see whose planes could fly the furthest.

Warlawurru Catholic School playground

Red Hill lies just outside the town of Halls Creek

 

CEWA staff members can find all of the blog posts at the Teaching and Learning SharePoint site.

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