#VicSRCvoices: Teach the Teacher - an absolute blast!

Bound to have a lasting effect on the school community, students at Sunshine College were racked by nerves before opening meaningful and reciprocal conversation with their teachers. 

This year, Sunshine College was more than happy to take part in the VicSRC's Teach the Teacher Program for the first time, writes Students Executive Angelique Corke-Cox.

This article first appeared in Connect Magazine Issue 227

We were stoked to find out about the program through communications with the VicSRC and our very own SRC Coordinator, Oliver Lovell.

We had multiple workshops to help prepare us for the journey ahead. These workshops were helped by Pinchy and Mel, VicSRC staff members, who incorporated multiple fun ice-breakers and lots of helpful tools to prep us for the Professional Development for teachers that we would lead.

The first workshop was in June, where Pinchy held an Introductory Session for students, explaining what the VicSRC is, what the Teach the Teacher Program is, and why it is being implemented at Sunshine College.

In the session, Pinchy also included information on ways to collect data, which ultimately helped us conduct surveys to send out to each student about relevant issues for Sunshine!

Our Professional Development sessions were to be divided up, due to Sunshine College having four campuses (Ardeer, North, West and Senior Campus), so each campus went its separate way, and students conducted surveys and gathered information to help us for our next program workshop.

Because of the split campuses, students from each campus decided to base their own workshops on the issues that came up in each campus. We worked together to plan our ways to showcase our ideas to the teachers, despite having different ideas for action.

Sunshine College then had two school-wide workshops facilitated by Mel from the VicSRC staff. These workshops took place late in July, a week apart, for two hours. In each session we analysed the data (despite some of us not having any data!) and based our whole Teach the Teacher Program around what we had collected. 

Unfortunately, at the Senior Campus SRC, we were not able to gain access to the Attitudes to School Survey as it was considered confidential (which is totally understandable). Without access to data, or the permission to collect data, we worried that we were not able to conduct as successful a Teach the Teacher Program as we’d hoped, about the issues and concerns that are relevant within our school! But we were finally able to get our hands on a selected area of the Attitudes to School Survey and it was more than enough. All the information given to us was very relevant and helpful to conduct our session for the teachers!

As representatives of the Senior Campus SRC, we held multiple practice PD sessions with a few willing teachers. We practised as if we were doing it on the actual day; the volunteer teachers were able to give us constructive criticism, which indeed helped us! This was one of my favourite parts of the workshop.

They also included a few jokes; overall it was amazing! But I think the most amazing yet nervous part was the actual PD session itself! My role was shared with a peer, Hasnain Musharib. Together we discussed the data we had and the statistical aspect of our power point. We analysed both surveys and data and collected the most important information to reveal to the teachers.

Although I was very scared to present our section (especially because I am an almost perfectionist) Hasnain reassured me that we would be fine! The real PD session occurred in our school library and it was so nerve wracking I had butterflies in my stomach. I did not expect so many teachers to attend! I honestly thought the teachers wouldn’t show up! Our PD session was based around ‘student stress’ and ‘student teacher relationships’. Our idea for action was to design a campaign that addresses the stigma around accessing counselling for stress and also to develop stronger and more stable student-teacher relationships. During our PD session, we assigned certain time for presentations, group tasks, ice-breakers and group sharing.

When we finished our discussion, I decided to join one of the teachers’ tables to hear their discussions and also to hear their perspective on the issues we presented to them. Many of the teachers brought up very relevant issues:communication with students, the willingness of students, the attitude of students, and also how reliable a student is.

One of the teachers announced that they felt as if students don’t give enough respect, which made them feel as if they could not talk to the students. Many important and useful statements were given to us, and it was definitely an eye opener. Coming from a student, it was good to hear the teachers open up to us and start to build their trust.

It opened my eyes to see things from the teachers’ perspective, instead of always being about the students. Don’t get me wrong: I am all for student voice, but hearing the teachers speak out in such confi dence you really begin to think: “Wow, maybe I should put myself in their shoes?” This sounds clichéd but it was very true.

Overall, the PD session was an absolute blast! Students from the SRC and teachers worked cooperatively to solve our issues. To end our Professional Development, we conducted a surveyto suggest feedback and took a group photo including both teachers and students.

The feedback from the event was a blast too! Almost all the teachers filled in the feedback forms and all the feedback was amazing! One teacher did criticise us on spelling – maybe anEnglish teacher?

The Teach the Teacher Program was definitely helpful for both my school and my SRC. From a student perspective, it has started to build the foundation of better student and teacher relationships, which was our goal!

We later had a final workshop to reflect on what happened in the Professional Development session, and how each individual felt after sharing ideas for action about our issue. Based on our experience with the Teach the Teacher Program, I would strongly recommend it to any school that is not already implementing it!

All the hard effort and many meetings all paid off . It improved the relationships between students and teachers – which was our ultimate goal from the beginning! I would like to personally thank the VicSRC and all those who have helped alongside students to make the Teach the Teacher Program happen.

Without your hard work, other schools wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do amazing work like this! It was such a success to have implemented the Teach the Teacher Program at Sunshine College!

Angelique Corke-Cox
Year 11, Sunshine Secondary College
Senior Campus

#VicSRCvoices is a rolling series driven by the stories and experiences of student representatives. It’s about who we are; what we value; what drives us to act; and what fuels our passions to advocate for what we believe in.

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