In a department as large and geographically dispersed as ours, it can be easy to forget that we are all linked in so many ways — in the work we do, the goals we aspire to and the values that drive us
In a similar vein, from my position it can be difficult to fully understand what life is like for staff in the many unique environments that make up this department.
One tool that I have used for many years to connect with staff is the ‘Captain’s Table’, an off-the-record discussion that I have with a small group of randomly-selected employees from throughout the department. The name derives from an experience I had as a young trainee teacher when going on my first ever cruise ship holiday. One day late in the cruise, a note slipped under my cabin door invited me to dine at the Captain’s Table — an offer I accepted with some reluctance, thinking I may have done something wrong! When I arrived at the Captain’s Table, I discovered that he had invited a random selection of cruise passengers in a genuine attempt to hear about every storm and celebration we had encountered on the trip.
That’s why, for many years, I have recreated this experience with staff — people from all walks of life and different areas of the department who can share their experiences, for better or worse. As much as we work in different teams, we are all on the same journey and hearing diverse perspectives from throughout the department helps me to grasp the ‘big picture’ necessary to make decisions that affect us all.
As Term 4 can be a particularly challenging time for all in our school communities, last week I met with a small group from our State Schools division to discuss a range of topics including Behaviour Management; Student Wellbeing; Inclusion, Access and Participation; and the Positive Behaviour for Learning framework.
I would like to thank Jean, Beth, Kitty, Warren, Lorna, Melissa, Mel, Tim and Jean for sharing with me the challenges and successes of their great work, while challenging my perceptions and exploring new ideas together – such valuable conversation with some passionate and talented staff!