Creating a robust educational environmentJohn Blois
At Trinity Grammar School, students are spoilt for choice when it comes to the Co-curricular programme. Between various sports, music and performing arts groups, Cadets and more, there’s something for each student to get involved with.
But it’s not just the students getting involved – staff also immerse themselves into the world of Co-curricular.
Mr Mitchell Kearsley is Sports Master, leading, developing and promoting the Co-curricular culture and profile of the School through the Co-curricular Sport Programmes at the Middle and Senior Schools.
The average week for Mitchell is filled with a healthy balance of teaching three PDHPE classes across Years 8, 10 and 12 (in 2022) and sports operations matters. On Saturdays, his day starts at 5:45am, assessing the outdoor facilities, making playability decisions, supporting students and troubleshooting, all while also coaching the 2nd XV Rugby side during Winter.
When it comes to the connection between teaching and Co-curricular, Mitchell has a good handle on how they complement each other.
“Personally, I believe the two go hand-in-hand,” he says. “Where skills learned in the classroom – sustained effort, active listening, curious inquiry, etc – can open the door to deeper engagement with and increased success in co-curricular activities, so too can the skills learned or cultivated through co-curricular activities – communication, decision-making, resilience, etc – bring about more positive academic outcomes.”
These results aren’t just for the students – the staff who get involved also reap the benefits, including stronger relationships and improvements in their teaching.
“It’s no secret that a student’s level of motivation, and therefore potential for learning, is greatly enhanced when student-teacher relationships are developed,” Mitchell says.
“Co-curricular pursuits afford the opportunity to engage with their students in different environments, to learn and share more about each other, thus forming stronger and more respectful relationships – the foundation of an environment that supports intellectual, emotional, spiritual, and physical growth.”
For himself, Mitchell has noticed the ways in which being involved in Co-curricular has impacted his wider role.
“I particularly love team-based Co-curricular activities and find this rubbing off on my teaching, where I view the class – just as I do a team I coach – as a collection of individuals, each with their own needs and talents, but that are working together towards a common aim or goal in an environment where a sense of psychological safety drives growth and performance.”
The success of Co-curricular is down to the staff, who Mitchell says understand the role of the programme in the wider School context.
“I love our Sports Team – a diverse group of highly-skilled people in their particular area, but who understand the importance of Co-curricular activities as a collective in the character development of the students. I love the scope of potential for positive impact, given the team I work with and the environment we work within.”
Between teaching and Co-curriculars, Mitchell is certainly kept busy, but he loves the variety of his days and the sheer amount he can pack into his work week. When he first took the role of Sports Master, it was the School’s facilities, quality of programmes and professional support that really drew him to take on the role – all things that he still benefits from today.
“Trinity has been incredibly supportive with regard to professional development, particularly in challenging me as a leader,” he says. “I’ve felt empowered to seek further knowledge and skills and have been supported – both professionally and financially – in engaging in further higher education.”
Looking towards what the future might bring, he is excited to continue his professional development, with the possibility of recommencing his MBA (Leadership) on the horizon and the opportunity to take on the role of Acting Director of Co-curricular from Term 4 in 2022.
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