Martyn Smith, writing about Wesley College

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Overview of Pastoral Care in the Junior School at Glen Waverley
QUIET HELPERS
(October, 1994, for 'The Chronicle' magazine)

At any time during the life of a year in the Junior School, many people serve the students quietly and unobtrusively. 

Whilst it is the teachers whose service is clearly seen in the classroom and the playground and on the stage and the fields, there are many who support and enhance this primary educational task with their special and vital skills and interests.

It is pertinent, however, to acknowledge firstly a small group of students of this ilk  --  the Cato Hall crew.  How often the school relies on them!  A treasure trove for those fascinated by technical creativity, Cato Hall has been the domain of Ben Lunn, Chris Campbell and Andrew Gemmell for a large part of 1994.  Their exhaustive work at all hours in arranging light, sound, staging and seating for meetings, assemblies and productions for the Junior School is often taken for granted but is recognised and appreciated here.

How valuable the work of the Teachers' Aides! 

Many students  --  and teachers  --   will have watched quietly and with interest how Mrs Schneiders and Mrs Vajtauer cleverly help wherever they are needed.  They always are able to find a way.  These two ladies set a marvellous example of how to support and assist the teachers with care and understanding.  And this is to say nothing of what they do to help the students directly!  It has been superb.

Mr Cotton, Teachers' Aide with the Notebook Computers, Mrs Davenport, Cooking Aide and Mrs Dempsey, Science Laboratory Assistant, also have made sure that all that is needed in advice and equipment has been available.  They have cleaned and mended, tidied and found, discovered and explained and always been there.  Their work is crucial.

Similarly, the service of the counsellors, Ms Barlow and Mr Jenkin, has been gently effective throughout the year.  In conjunction with teachers and parents, these two people have provided support and guidance as it has been needed.  The teamwork in this area has been impressive with assistance being received on a wide range of levels.  Again, quietly and often unnoticed, young people, and their family and friends, have been aided significantly through this facet of the school's life.

And what happens when one feels ill, or falls, perhaps, from the climbing frame?   To Matron, in Sick Bay.  Or, she will come to you.  It's automatic.  She's there.  Sister Khanbashi is another of those who provide the supportive care so necessary in a community like Wesley's.  Her calm, precise and smiling treatment is known widely.

Junior School students run and jump freely and widely on ovals; bowl, pitch, bat and field in the nets; shoot baskets and goals and hit balls on the courts; keenly slice the water in the pool.  Do they remember occasionally those who keep these facilities readily amenable for them?  Curator Mr Savedra and Maintenance Officer Mr Pirie each keep a close eye on these much loved sports arenas where much skill and fitness is achieved.  They, of course, have teams of helpers who work hard to ensure particularly that the gardens, the grass, the trees and the buildings are pleasing to the eye.

The outdoors brings to mind Chum Creek.  Mrs Val Duff has prepared the meals at Chum Creek for twelve years.  Many Junior School students and teachers will attest to the pleasure that her service brings!

Through the tummy to the heart?  The Tuckshop.  Grateful thanks are extended to Mrs Charlesworth and her helpers.  Daily they marshal the lunches and the snacks.  Soon they come to know the 'customers', who are not always as polite and appreciative as they might be  --  hunger and sweet tooth overriding courtesy.  Nonetheless, no student goes hungry when, as happens, orders or money are lost, or special arrangements need to be made.

Of constant and immediate support for the parents, the teachers and the students is the work of the office staff.  Under Mrs Burgess' leadership, this team of people bears the brunt of the Junior School's demands.  A telephone line, a message, some photocopying, an equipment order, a fax .....  Does it ever end?  All benefit from this thoughtful, perceptive, courteous and hard-working team.

Such is the huge and invaluable support the Junior School constantly receives. 

Added to this is the commitment of the teachers who work with the students' families to provide for the upbringing and education of the young people.  This must always be a co-operative, engrossing and purposeful effort for all concerned.

When one reads the achievements chronicled elsewhere in these pages by proud students and dedicated teachers it is easy to feel the vibrancy and colour of the school's life.  That life is richer for all its participants who contribute as do those whose services have been described above.

Related links
Preadolescent = energy and altruism
Overview of Pastoral Care in the Junior School at Glen Waverley
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