CBC Fremantle | In Touch

Championing Our Teachers

As the year approaches its end, the boys are buzzing with excitement over the installation of new basketball half courts in the undercover area outside the Chapel. 1h1a1751.jpg

It's a spot that holds a special history - back in the early 1980s, it was the birthplace of the first basketball court at CBC. At that time, the College staff lacked expertise in basketball and sought help from two NBL players to coach the boys. The coaches' fervor for the game, though admirable, led to their removal from interschool matches due to their overly enthusiastic coaching style and colorful language.

In stepped Brother Murphy, whose wisdom became pivotal. He began attending matches, keeping a watchful eye to ensure order and a positive atmosphere prevailed. His intervention and commitment to maintaining discipline highlighted the care taken to nurture a healthy environment for the sport. Now, more than forty years later, basketball remains a favoured sport among the boys, as can be seen on the new courts and in the Gym each day.

As I bid farewell to the CBC Fremantle community with this final newsletter, I'd like to celebrate teachers. I've frequently highlighted the invaluable contributions of students, families and Allied Staff to our school, and I would like to acknowledge the dedication, impact and legacy of our exceptional teachers.

In 1868 Ambrose Treacy and three fellow Christian Brothers arrived in Victoria. They were tasked with continuing the mission of Edmund Rice to provide a Catholic education to children who were largely underprivileged.  Their noble mission centered on lifting boys out of poverty and improving their circumstances through the power of education. The Brothers' days were long, they lived in harsh conditions, often built classrooms themselves, and at the end of a day of teaching, ran accounting classes in the evening to equip their students with the skills they needed to succeed. They faced much bureaucratic, financial, geographical and social adversity, but persisted. By the end of his life, Brother Treacy had established 27 schools throughout Australia.

The legacy of these early Christian Brothers reverberates through time in their efforts to better lives. However, we have learned from the heartbreaking failings of the past, as much as from the many successes. Today there are 55 Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA) schools and flexible learning centers, educating over 40 000 young people, and EREA is one of the biggest contributors to Catholic education in our country.

Our teachers carry forth the torch of Catholic education in the Edmund Rice tradition, striving to fulfill the mission of empowering young people to be confident, capable and compassionate; well-equipped to build a better world for all.

You only have to read a headline or listen to the news to know that teaching is not without its challenges. While they may not be building classrooms in freezing conditions out of bluestone, in today's educational landscape teachers find themselves navigating the increasingly complex needs of students while shouldering the weight of demands from parents, administration and society at large.

Teachers juggle curriculum demands, assessment pressures, co-curricular activities and the incorporation of innovation and technology into lessons while fostering inclusive environments that cater to diverse student abilities and backgrounds. Moreover, our teachers often serve as mentors, tutors and advocates in the face of evolving societal challenges and growing mental health concerns among young people.

The teacher workforce has faced a staggering 41% reduction in graduate teachers over the past five years, compounding the strain on an already stressed system. While less people are taking up teaching as a profession, there are also more leaving the profession. The impending retirement of baby boomer teachers in the coming decade and our growing population will only add to the shortages.

These challenges are not unique to Australia; they resound globally. The UNESCO Institute for Statistics projects a staggering need for 69 million additional teachers worldwide by 2030 to achieve universal primary and secondary education.

At the heart of this issue lies the critical need for support and recognition. Recognition that teachers are highly trained and experienced, that their time is finite, their role is complex, and their decision making is based around maintaining the learning environments they expertly establish to educate all students in their care.

At CBC Fremantle, our parents play an indispensable role in supporting teachers to effectively meet the needs of our 900 students. Collaboration and cooperation between parents and teachers are paramount, offering a cohesive front to nurture and educate our boys.

In light of these realities, it becomes imperative to value and support our teachers and advance the narrative around teaching as a profession. Their dedication forms the bedrock upon which the future of our world is built.

In honouring the legacy of the Christian Brothers and their profound influence, let's express our heartfelt appreciation for our remarkable teachers who continue to advance the mission every day. May our gratitude, spoken from both yourselves and the students, reach our teachers in abundant words of thanks.

Finally, I would like to offer my sincerest gratitude to the CBC Fremantle community. It has been a gift and an honour to lead such a wonderful College and I thank you all for your support. We welcome our eminent Principal Domenic Burgio back with joy and gratitude as he returns refreshed and renewed from his leave.

Wishing you all the blessings, peace and happiness that Christmas affords.

Farewell and God bless.

Jenny Knox

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