Taking the time for a little appreciation in life and learning

By Mrs Sue Grotherr—Head of Secondary School

On Monday night, an email from one of our Year 9 students dropped into my inbox. Nothing unusual about that—I receive emails from students regularly, requesting subject changes, asking for assessment extensions or seeking permission for a uniform variation but this one was a total surprise. The student had taken the time to write, on behalf of his class, about the teaching and learning happening in their classroom and how much they appreciated what their teacher was doing to help them garner a deep understanding of the subject content.

Driving home that night, I reflected on the joy this email had engendered. My delight sprang from the sentiment expressed—appreciation. How often do we take the time to write an email, send a card, hold a conversation in which we acknowledge our appreciation of the actions of friends, family, teachers and coaches?

Appreciating or recognising the positive qualities of someone or something flows into gratitude, one of the qualities on our graduate tree. Being grateful for the blessings that enrich our lives leads us to compassion, described by the late British educator, Sir Ken Robinson, as the living expression of the Golden Rule to treat others as you would have them treat you.  (What a wonderful world we would live in if we all adopted that as our guiding principle.)

However, appreciation not only warms the heart of the recipient, it also encircles the one expressing the appreciation. Positive perceptions of the world are strengthened and wellbeing and happiness ensue. God hardwired us to be optimistic, hopeful and empathetic. When we deny those qualities and focus on the perceived injustice and unfairness of life, we default into ‘complain and moan’ mode.

At St Peters, we encourage our students to share their gratitude and appreciation openly and often. Writing notes to classmates, saying thank you to teachers and reflecting on what they have to be grateful for are an integral part of our Pastoral Care and Wellbeing programs. Do these humble acts have an impact? Do students see expressing appreciation and acknowledging gratitude as a ‘normal’ part of life? I think the fact that a Year 9 boy sat down at his computer at eleven minutes past five on a Monday evening answers that question.

Be part of our supportive St Peters Springfield community and contact enrolment by email s.enolments@stpeters.qld.edu.au or call 3470 3888