Last updated: December 2019
When I first came to Wadhurst I quickly realised I had a pathway ahead of me that was going to be different to what I had originally thought it would be, to my benefit. I was challenged to examine my practice on an ongoing basis, and throughout my time here that approach has kept making me a better teacher.
Now I’m at the stage where I have the chance to create opportunities for younger staff to develop their capacities, and I’m hoping they’ll have a similar journey to the one I’ve had. Providing professional learning opportunities is something that Melbourne Grammar School does extremely well. Having those opportunities in my early years was incredibly important to me and I see how important it is to the staff community as a whole.
Taking on a role where I had the opportunity to look closely at classroom practice was the best thing that’s ever happened to me as a teacher. We want teachers to be questioning their practice all the time to create the best learning experiences for the students in their classrooms. We know no little brother is the same as his older brother, and that we can’t make assumptions about this year’s new students based on our experiences last year. We have to be ready to be flexible and make adjustments to get positive results.
What gives us this flexibility in the classroom is clarity in terms of our shared purpose, which aligns closely with the mission of the School. Understanding what we want to do across Wadhurst gives us a common thread and helps us avoid distractions. We have a shared direction, but we also have the freedom to get there in different ways. We’re often able to teach and to experiment with our own areas of personal interest within broad curriculum guidelines.
Mark Coleman is Head of Learning and Teaching at Wadhurst, where he has worked since 2002 holding a range of roles including Head of House and Head of Science. Prior to joining Melbourne Grammar School in 2001, he worked in managerial and leadership positions in both government and independent schools.