Passing on years of experienceJohn Blois
One thing that Mrs Katherine Hronopoulos knows for sure is that the sharing of ideas, learning from one another’s experiences is absolutely critical for any educator to grow in their own practice.
As a teacher in the Economics faculty, as well as a Housemaster for Stephenson House, she doesn’t just know it in theory, she actively seeks out opportunities to build the relationships that facilitate these exchanges of knowledge and experience, such as becoming a Mentor for the Trinity Teacher Education Internship programme.
While she’s since stepped back from this Mentor role, she reflects that the experience was just as valuable to her as it was to her Mentee.
“That relationship that you build with your Mentee is priceless. I think it gives me fresh perspective – university was very different 20 years ago to what it is now,” she says.
Her advice to anyone who is thinking about coming to Trinity as an Intern is emphatically, “take the opportunity”.
“We want to be developing the students in mind, body, spirit … and that’s what we want for the Interns too. You have the opportunity to meet a lot of different people, to be involved in Co-curricular, in sport, in the classroom and just embrace every challenge that is given to you. That is going to make you a better educator.”
Mrs Hronopoulos credits Trinity’s culture of collegiality and professional development as one that has benefits for every staff member. Professional Learning Teams (PLTs) in particular have allowed her to learn from others and share her experience with those who wish to grow in their career.
“My experience of 20-odd years in teaching can also help them grow, but also find what they need to work on and just help them and guide them through that.”
There are also plenty of opportunities for learning and passing on experience with students. When she first started at Trinity, Mrs Hronopoulos took on a role in the Cadet Programme as a Medic Officer, where she built strong relationships with other staff as well as the students involved. But it wasn’t always easy.
“When I started Cadets, I thought it was the furthest thing from what I would ever do in my life and it definitely put me out of my comfort zone … going out and sleeping in a tent for five days,” she laughs. “But it also gave me a real appreciation for how the boys were going through that process. We went through it together. Their fears were also my fears. It was an accomplishment for not only them, but for myself.”
While she had taken on House Master and other pastoral roles at previous schools, she notes that this experience in Cadets reminded her of the power of shared experiences and getting to know one another well when it comes to the pastoral side of her role.
“I treat it like an extension of my little family,” she says, noting that she has kids of a similar age to those she cares for at Trinity. “They’re like my children, and I’m their advocate at School.”
Everything, she says, comes back to building strong relationships.
“Being a part of the Co-curricular programme and various other programmes, has allowed me to build relationships with my colleagues outside of my faculty. We’re quite a big School and I think being able to expand that network helps me in my mentoring, it helps me in my purpose in coming to School and it does make my time here a lot more productive and happy.
“In all my practice, we have to build relationships because that just makes us so much better at what we do.”
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