Catholic Schools NSW Teacher Feature: Principal, Michael Reardon
Catholic Schools NSW's latest 'Teacher Feature' stars our very own principal, Mr Michael Reardon! Catholic Schools NSW spent '#OneMinuteWith' Mr Reardon to ask him about his background and aspirations in Catholic education...
WHAT MADE YOU BECOME INVOLVED IN EDUCATION?
As a young person I grew up in a small town where most students left school in Year 10 and went into a trade or some form of unskilled work. I was wired differently and liked to read. My parents treated education as a means to a good future and took it seriously. Education therefore mirrored my family values.
WHERE DID YOU GO TO SCHOOL?
I went through the public school system firstly at Warragamba Public School and then Nepean High School at Emu Plains. I never 'set foot' inside a Catholic school until my first year of teaching in 1982 - I felt like I had found the rest of the tribe!
WAS THERE A TEACHER YOU HAD THAT INSPIRED YOU OR STOOD OUT?
The teacher that inspired me most was a young teacher, probably in her first three years of teaching. She was my Geography teacher. I remember her always being prepared, she knew her content and set incredibly high expectations and showed a genuine interest in my work. There were times when I felt she was quite demanding, but she gave back much more than I put in. Hard work by her students was reciprocated, with respect. I never met her away from school after I had left and yet 40 years have passed and I still remember the interest she showed in her students as learners.
WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO ACHIEVE IN YOUR ROLE?
This is my 23rd year as a principal and I genuinely believe that I serve my God through my ministry as an educator. This is where I get my authenticity and respect as a teacher and leader. Whilst I have been a principal for a considerable time, I have always maintained a regular teaching responsibility, at the moment this is with Year 6 where I teach part of the PDHPE syllabus through an anti-bullying program.
IF YOU WERE EDUCATION MINISTER FOR A DAY, WHAT IS ONE THING THAT YOU WOULD CHANGE?
I would seek to focus on the huge contribution teachers make to the lives of young people. I would give specific real examples, which I have experienced first-hand over so many years. I would work to ensure that schools are not simply measured by a number on a page as it fails to recognise the broader benefits that these communities naturally create. Learning is a social activity as learners need to learn from each other.