Positivity and growth key elements at Woodthorpe School

With a career spanning more than 40 years, Susan Ballantyne is more than qualified to comment on why she thinks teaching is not just enjoyable, but a vocation.

“As a teacher, one of the great rewards is undoubtedly that sense of making an impact and a difference in the lives of our students,” she says. “Seeing students blossom and grow as individuals, developing confidence and a lifelong love of learning is also another reason I love this job.”

OneSchool’s Woodthorpe campuses are small compared to mainstream school, which is a real positive, according to Susan.

“There is a real sense of community at Woodthorpe,” she says. “Indeed most teachers know every student and vice versa which creates a real warmth and familiarity within the school. The parents at Woodthorpe School are very supportive and engaged in the school life of their sons and daughters. Many parents and grandparents are frequent and active visitors to the school and there is often a real bond between staff members and community members.”

Having been teaching since 1974, Susan has seen many changes with how schools teach, with technology being the most obvious game changer.

“Teaching via Virtual Classroom enables students from different parts of the state to interact with each other, working collaboratively and bouncing ideas off each other,” says Susan. “Similarly, SDL promotes group work and underpins the school ethos of Learning to Learn. In the Learning Centre I often find that energy is often reflected, creating a beehive-like environment of positivity and warmth.”

Susan has been part of the Woodthorpe School faculty for almost 16 years, and the changes at the school over that time have been huge.

“When I first came to the school reading was not overly encouraged, education was not a top priority and it was requested that homework was not to be given,” says Susan. “In more recent times learning is regarded very highly. Students are encouraged to be innovative, creative, ambitious and self- motivated. Success is rewarded and on the whole there is an atmosphere of positivity and a growth mindset within the school.”