Illalong News

  • 22nd November, 2019

Why A.B.?

After time away from the College on extended leave, I returned at the start of November and excitedly hit the ground running! November is always an action-packed month in the College calendar and this year was no different. We saw the introduction of the Year 10 Semi-Formal (which was a huge hit), showcased some of our best and brightest on the international stage at World Scholar’s Cup – Tournament of Champions, celebrated student success and growth at Speech Night, and farewelled the Class of 2019. 

As I reflect on this, I am taken back to a conversation I had in the past with, not one but, two parents where I was asked, ‘What is it about A.B.?’  My reply at the time was, ‘We grow great humans’. One of the parents responded with a surprised look on their face and said, ‘Yeah, you’re right, you actually do, that’s a really nice way of looking at things’. 

I believe that we grow great humans at the College because of our why not because of our what. It is because of our why that staff get up early to supervise events like Running Club and additional sports practice; it is our why that drives staff to put their hands up for special projects and additional duties; it is our why that keeps staff up at night – writing feedback, worrying, planning, considering, perfecting, inspiring…

The Oxford Dictionary defines why as:

adverb: why
for what reason or purpose.
"why did he do it?"
used to make or agree to a suggestion.
"why don't I give you a lift?"
adverb: why
(with reference to a reason) on account of which; for which.
"the reason why flu jabs need repeating every year is that the virus changes"
the reason for which.
"each has faced similar hardships, and perhaps that is why they are friends"
plural noun: whys and wherefores
a reason or explanation.
"the whys and wherefores of these procedures need to be explained to students"

Ask yourself this, ‘Why do you think A.B. exists? Why do the staff choose to work at A.B.? Why is it that the teachers and staff do things differently here? We all know the what of schools, but have you ever stopped to consider the why of teaching (hint, it’s not because students finish at 3.20 in the afternoon)? When I asked some of our staff ‘why teaching?’, the responses included:

I wake up every morning and have the fantastic opportunity to share my interest in and my passion for physics with the budding Einsteins of the future. I mean, physics is everywhere in this world and who wouldn’t want to share that and be a part of the learning journey of our students?

You see a crumpled piece of paper, I see the light and dark, the texture, the shades… hearing the students’ thoughts and different perspectives keeps me coming back.

Because the world needs active and informed citizens, I get to make a difference.

I am constantly challenged to find new and creative ways to share information with young people in an ever-changing and dynamic environment where no two days are ever the same.

Seeing a student have that light bulb moment, where they get it and engage, can’t be described.

I am passionate about lifelong learning. Teaching allows me the opportunity to inspire others.

For some kids, I get to be a constant in their ever-changing world, their safety blanket of routine and encouragement.

According to author, Simon Sinek (2009, p.41), in any organisation large or small, ‘People don’t buy WHAT you do, people buy WHY you do it.’  So, we now know a little more about the why of teaching, so the next logical question for me is, ‘Why do you choose to send your children here?’ Is it because of our amazing facilities, the networks, the opportunities? I imagine that this is a large part of why you choose to educate your children with us, but I think it’s more than this. I think you choose to send your children to A.B. because of our why, because our teachers build genuine bonds with our students as this is a gateway to learning, knowing the whole student, having a passion for information and sharing it builds capacity and community.

As Sinek points out, ‘…those who are able to inspire will create a following of people who act for the good of the whole, not because they have to but because they want to…’. We want our young people - your children - to be the best version of themselves, to reach their personal goals, to have the skills to succeed academically and to be healthy, productive members of society. This is why we do what we do. Thank you for choosing to be an A.B. parent, not because you have to but because you want to.

Toni Kirton
Director of Positive Education & Leadership


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