Spotlight on: Fresh Eyes

18 March 2022


This article first appeared in Queenwood Weekly News on Friday 18 March, 2022

Have you ever had the experience when someone has come into your home for the first time and compliments the view, a piece of furniture, or maybe just the colour of the walls, and it makes you look at it afresh? I had such an experience recently when someone’s appreciation of a piece of furniture made me see it through fresh eyes and reflect on why I had chosen it in the first place. That piece, which was destined for Gumtree, is now well and truly back amongst my most favourite items.

Fresh eyes can see things we overlook or have become distanced from. Each year, new students and staff come to Queenwood and see it through a new lens. There will be new people, buildings, routines, priorities and rituals and it is natural to compare this to previous experiences. What do I like? What makes sense? What do I miss? What seems unique about this place?

At Queenwood, we have a strong outward focus that encourages us to engage with our community to understand our strengths and challenges, our unique qualities and perhaps issues we may not be aware of. Applying our school value of Truth, we can use the fresh eyes of new staff and students to help us see our reality more clearly and grow in wisdom. It can also refresh our appreciation for experiences we may have come to take for granted – or even were not initially disposed to like.

With this in mind, we recently asked our new staff and students to provide us with feedback on what they enjoyed about Queenwood and what has been a highlight for them so far this term. Consistently, the response from staff referred to our supportive culture and a friendly and welcoming community.

“Queenwood is a fabulous school and l have really enjoyed my time here so far. I have really appreciated the supportive staff culture, the balance between time off class and time teaching and the amazing behaviour from the girls. I feel like I have settled in so quickly and can't believe it has been less than 2 months. I think that is a testament to all the staff, students and parents of the School."
– Junior School Staff Member

"I have enjoyed the welcoming nature of the staff and students – there is a warmth and sense of hospitality that has been extended to new staff which is lovely. I have also been impressed with the approach to learning demonstrated by the students – they seem to be proactive, independent and curious students who are keen to learn."
– Senior School Staff Member

When asked about positive experiences teachers also mentioned the beautiful location and the opportunities to incorporate the local area when designing lessons. Another highlight was the Just Read program and how engaged the students and staff are in this unique promotion of reading and literacy as well as the willingness of students to help new staff navigate life at Queenwood.

"I have truly never seen or experienced another school that has this level of inclusivity, and I think that it is something that needs to be truly appreciated."
– Senior School Staff Member

The Senior School students said that the size of the school helped them feel connected as they were able to recognise faces across different year groups:

"Everyone's so friendly and willing to help which is so helpful for someone that doesn't know the school as well as others."

Highlights for both Junior and Senior School students included Just Read, the breadth of cocurricular opportunities, and the shared commitment to learning by staff and students. Senior students enjoyed the independence of moving between campuses and the expectations set for them to become responsible for themselves, and the Junior School girls loved their buddies, the swimming carnival and catching the Queenwood bus where they were able to interact with girls from many different year groups. (They also suggested we could improve by having a swimming pool on both campuses and ‘a pig pen’.)

It is uplifting to have so much positive feedback from those who are new to our community but it does not mean our work is done. The challenge is to continue to question our assumptions, encourage new ideas and learn from a diverse range of perspectives – just as we ask the girls to do every day.