We Must Create Time To Be With Each Other

In our time short world, creating quality time for the family is a desire often heard from parents. This can mean families are often rushed and pressured for time with so many things on the go. Apart from the long hours that parents can work, school and associated activities such as sports, music, participation in clubs, not to mention the myriad of commitments away from school, can all be a source of stress for families. Lacking the time to be with each other, families can compensate with short moments of doing amazing things together. The intention is that these special experiences will develop enhanced family connections, hence the term ‘quality time’ often comes with a high price tag to ensure the specialness of the event. I am not so sure that these ‘quality’ experiences necessarily have the desired effect.

I have been very fortunate this year to have spent long periods of time away on camp with the Year 7 cohort in Phillip Island and the Year 8 cohort in Central Australia. Each of these week-long experiences enabled the girls and their teachers to spend long periods of time together. During the camps, there were often quiet in-between times which became magical moments.

On the Phillip Island camp, one of the experiences for the girls was visiting the penguins at sunset to see them swim ashore and return to their burrows. As I walked back to the bus with a group of girls, a few of them lingered to watch the penguins. We spent the next 20 minutes or so watching these beautiful creatures and we had conversations about a number of different things. It was one of those magic times where the girls and I were lost in the moment as we observed something that touched our inner spirit. It was only by having time that we were able to do this. If we were rushing back to the bus, or as we do back home, rushing to sport training, a dance class or grabbing a quick meal from a local restaurant, the moment might not have eventuated.

The Year 7 cohort at Phillip Island in Term 1.

We must create time to be with each other. Not just a weekend away once a year, but genuine time where we can share our lives together. It is having time that is important. Increasing time at St Catherine’s has been a deliberate strategy in 2019 whereby we have increased the time allocations in English, Mathematics, Science and Humanities. The belief is that having more time will enable more depth to be covered in these subjects. Just as important are teachers and students having more time together. This allows for relationships to develop, improved understanding of each other and allowance for ‘magic’ to happen in the classroom. You can try to plan magic moments but often it will not happen. It is the serendipitous event, that chance remark or event which sparks something special. The one requirement is having time to allow these to happen.

On the Year 8 camp, I rode around Uluru with a group of girls. It took us about three hours to do the loop which means we went quite slowly with lots of stops along the way. This enabled us to not only talk about the extraordinary environment we were in but we talked about lots of other stuff! We had the time to do this. Unhurried and no pressure to race around as fast as we could, we had the time to interact and learn a bit more about each other. While travelling to Uluru is not something we can do very often, we can all go for a walk in the park, have a picnic, play cards, do a jigsaw puzzle or any number of other things which require us to be with each other and talk. You never know, it might just be a lot of fun.

The Year 8 cohort rode around Uluru as part of their camp to Central Australia.

Mr Robert Marshall, Deputy Principal, Teaching and Learning