|26 May 2023|
Our Head of Human Society and its Environment (HSIE), Rod Henderson, does not typically like to be in the spotlight.
In celebrating his recent Highly Accomplished Teacher accreditation, he insists the honour be shared. He particularly wants to draw attention to the incredible support he received from his colleagues at what he calls a “growing, vibrant and encouraging workplace”.
“This is a great testament to our staff,” reflected Rod. “It could only be done with the assistance of the teaching community, and that’s why I enjoy working here.”
Rod has taught at the School since 2007, with a short time in Wagga Wagga in 2013-2014, and has been Head of HSIE since 2014. He describes his experience as “incredibly rewarding”.
“I’ve found it fulfilling professionally and personally – because of the students and the impact I’ve made there, but also the camaraderie, the collegiality and the capacity of our staff.”
He drew on those collaborative and highly competent colleagues when he made the decision to pursue his accreditation, which demands 37 standards that are rigorously evaluated, firstly by the Association of Independent Schools NSW, then by the NSW Education Standards Authority.
It is a demanding process that has seen only about 1000 teachers (from almost half a million nationally) receive the endorsement across Australia since its introduction 12 years ago.
“The evidence I needed to demonstrate was not just my own teaching practice, but my influence on others and their teaching practice,” he added, pointing out that this requirement inevitably meant he needed input from other teachers.
“It’s a tapestry – you can’t do it on your own,” said Rod. “It’s a recognition of the School as a body and a learning institution to be able to facilitate that, and then have an impact on the wider student body.”
Emphasising the valued teamwork of his HSIE Department colleagues, Rod also paid tribute to Arden Principal, Justin Beckett, for his unstinting support, and to Director of Teaching and Learning, Joshua Harnwell, himself accredited as a Lead Teacher.
“Josh was a real mentor in this process,” explained Rod. “I appreciated his positivity, and his willingness to encourage and keep me accountable in a time of professional and personal challenges.”
Rod’s impact also encompassed the Junior Campus. He singled out teachers Evan Hooworth and Phillippa Williams for particular thanks, in recognition of their assistance in setting up Rod’s innovative peer mentoring system between Year 10 History students and Year 6 students.
His motivation to take on the huge challenge of pursuing the accreditation was a simple one.
“My desire was always just to be a better teacher and a better leader,” added Rod. “And it was pleasing to demonstrate that it can be done. I know there are other fine Heads of Department and stage leaders working at this level – I encourage them to pursue it. What you can’t see is harder to achieve, so I’m hopeful it will inspire our teaching community and encourage them to consider all the accreditation levels.”