Santa Sophia foundation principal’s journey and hopes
03 Mar 2018
Mark de Vries is the Foundation Principal of the future Santa Sophia Catholic College, Box Hill. This unique opportunity of building a Catholic school from scratch requires a unique skill set and complete commitment to the project. Mark granted an interview with Catholic Outlook.
Mark’s vocation as a teacher was motivated by a desire for community and the satisfaction of knowing he could benefit student wellbeing.
“I loved the passion and enthusiasm which some of my teachers brought to their classes each day. I vividly recall my Grade Four teacher, a Mrs Taylor and her ability to engage and motivate the most difficult of students,” Mark said.
“I also remember, in my life post-HSC, of missing the sense of community and belonging that schooling gives you. It made perfect sense to become a teacher when you consider all my positive experiences I had at school.”
Character formation will play an important role at Santa Sophia Catholic College. Mark is keenly aware of teacher influence on student character development.
“I think students are so impressionable and the impact we have as teachers is significant. We have a tremendous opportunity, along with parents, to shape and develop their character, and instill life-long values in the students we teach,” he said.
“I think we’re on the right track as a profession, in moving towards a student-centred approach, which will give the students variety and choice in the ways in which they can demonstrate their understanding of outcomes.
“When students are given choice over how they learn and what they learn within the context of the curriculum, I believe we can assist students fully develop their potential and character. The ‘one size fits all’ approach to learning is too limiting and restrictive.”
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