The newly appointed director of Port Macquarie-Hastings public schools Graham Small wants to prepare students for the future not the past.
“Preparing their resilience and problem solving capacity to become critical thinkers,” he said.
“Applying technology in new, innovative and creative ways.”
Mr Small said it’s important students understand the jobs they go into might not even exist at this point of time.
“So being adaptable, being team players, having high levels of collaboration and fluency in technology are vital,” he said.
The new director’s vision for Hastings school is they work collaboratively together to maximise learning opportunities for students inside and out of the classroom.
Teachers can grow and learn together through observing and communicating with each other.
“Teachers need to constantly be on a cycle of pedagogical improvement and engaging students in an increasingly complex world,” Mr Small said.
He wants students to be critical of what they learn through social media and the internet.
“Knowledge is problematic and they have to be prepared to challenge and gather a range of data,” Mr Small said.
“Those skills we didn’t teach 30 or 40 years ago.
“We filled their brains with knowledge and facts such as the rivers of NSW but they can get that through an internet search now.”
Development of emotional and intellectual intelligence is also something which Mr Small believes is important.
“So that they can work seamlessly with a range of people, engage with people and be active in listening,” he said.
“We don’t work in isolation anymore.”
Graham Small bought a house in Dunbogan in 2010 but has only started permanently living in it when he secured the position.
Prior to arriving at Dunbogan Mr Small worked at Tamworth as a principal school leadership officer. The role involved coaching and mentoring principals in all of the department reforms and leadership activities.
Mr Small grew up in the country at the Snowy Mountains and attended university in Armidale. He taught for several years after graduating in Darwin and then secured his first posting at Warren Central School.
“From there my wife and I moved around a bit but I did spend 10 years in the early leadership part of my role in Port Macquarie,” he said.
He was deputy principal at Port Macquarie Public School and principal of Long Flat Public School before he was promoted again out west.
There are 32 schools in the Hastings region including Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island.
Mr Small said there is a lot of amazing and inspirational teaching happening at schools.
Mr Small said when the position became available he didn’t hesitate to apply.
“I jumped at it with two feet and both hands.”
He is enjoying living and working in the beautiful environment of the Hastings region.