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Sports, arts and activities

Spotlight on staff: Joseph Janiszewski

He’s doing a Masters, expecting a baby, writing a novel, teaching our Year sixes and running the Junior Choir.

What do you enjoy about being a teacher?

The opportunity to challenge children’s self-perceptions and their perspectives on the world. I love guiding them into the discovery that relationships underpin all learning, regardless of the subject. It’s very rewarding to build trusting connections with students and watch them exceed their expectations.

What’s great about primary students?

Students are often less inhibited. They are freer with their opinions and have less cognitive biases, so discussions in the classroom are often very organic. The teacher has the same class every period, every day, so you can observe and track progress in attitudes, work habits and academic results on a daily basis. I find this exciting and rewarding.

What do you consider your greatest achievement as a teacher?

There are many ways of evaluating the effectiveness of a teacher – like appraisal systems and academic results, but some of the most important indicators of success are difficult to measure. W.B. Yeats said that education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire. If I can be known for that, I would consider that my greatest achievement.

What makes a great primary teacher?

Someone who is highly organised, considers the needs of all students and does their best to cater to them. Someone who makes it their priority to build meaningful connections with students and families. A good teacher should be truthful, but gracious, remaining open to learning and be constantly striving to improve and upskill. A good teacher knows when it is appropriate to be flexible, even if that means deviating from the objective.

What do you most like about ACG Parnell College?

I like the depth of collegiality that exists in our small primary faculty and the high expectations around school values. The school is well-resourced and the focus is predominantly on quality teaching and learning with minimal distractions to the programme.

What initiatives have you spearheaded?

My influence has been around curriculum development. As Year 6 teacher, I have made adjustments to Science and English planning and entirely rewritten the Humanities programme. I have also been running the Junior Choir.

What might we not know about you?

I was married in September last year and my wife is expecting a baby in July. My hobbies include playing squash, tramping, fishing and travelling. I have been working on a novel for the past two years that was inspired by a 200km walk I did along the west coast of Ireland in 2015.