It is with gratitude, that I write to you in this February addition of our new look Valley News Newsletter.
Over the past four weeks, as I have begun to settle into this new role, I am thankful to God that he has called my family to this wonderful community. I am thankful for all the lovely, welcoming people that I have met. I am thankful for the amazing, talented and devoted staff who give so much of themselves to their role as they partner with you in the education of your children. Most importantly, I am thankful to God for the outstanding students that I get to work with each day. It is a delight to watch them discover more about themselves, each other, God and His World. From Transition to Year 12, I have met and enjoyed the company of so many uniquely talented boys and girls.
I come to this position with a set of fresh eyes and optimism for the future. I was reminded of a quote by a phenomenal man on Friday night at the Clarence Valley Leadership Summit,
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid”
This man, born in 1879 was someone who until he became famous was no one of note. He didn’t speak until later in life and didn’t particularly like school. He struggled with a lot of his subjects and he was easily distracted. His early teachers saw him as a lazy daydreamer and not a particularly talented student. Modern scholars have said he had a variety of learning difficulties from Dyslexia, to ADHD, to Autism, although they admit that this is hard to diagnose with certainty after his death. He eventually trained as a teacher but could not get a teaching position. He ended up as a lowly third clerk in a patent office. He applied for promotions but did not receive any. Then at the age of 26, he presented a paper and flipped what we thought we understand about the world onto its side.
His name was Albert Einstein. To the outward observer, he was destined for mediocrity (a common life). However, he, like every one of the students attending PVCS, was made by God, for his purposes. He was unique and talented in phenomenal ways. He was masterfully made, like each of us and became the father of modern Physics. Some claim that his theory of relativity brought our understanding of Physics forward 100 years and took science places it may never have gone. Someone, who was overlooked as a child, is now held up as one of the smartest human beings to ever walk the Earth.
His quote is pointedly correct, casting a negative light on the institution of Education and for good reason.
In the coming months, we want the students not to ask “Am I smart?” but instead to ask “How am I smart?” It is our job together; as parents, carers and teachers, to help our students discover their God given talents and hone them, not simply to judge them by what they can and cannot do.
Psalm 139 states;
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body: all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
It is an exciting journey helping students find success and it is my heart that no one is overlooked.
Yours in Christ