There’s a new venture underway in the heart of Lilydale Heights College. As the school welcomes its first-ever Trainee and Alumni Nicholas King. But the excitement doesn’t end there – the school’s supervisor, Matthew Smith, is equally new to this endeavour, making the experience doubly thrilling.
Recently, we caught up with Nicholas and Matthew to gain insights into their journey as they navigate new territory with the Schools Traineeship Program.
Matthew has heard positive feedback about the School Traineeship Program from friends in the field. Colleagues who have had Trainees at their schools, Smith has been eager to implement the program at Lilydale Heights College.
However, starting from scratch meant there were no established precedents or tried-and-tested practices to lean on. Nevertheless, both Nicholas and Matthew have embraced the Schools Program.
Nicholas, being a trailblazing Trainee, expressed his enthusiasm for the opportunity and has kept an open-minded approach to the Traineeship. His positive and receptive attitude made the initial phase of the program more exciting for everyone involved.
The impact of Nicholas’s presence at the school was quickly evident, especially within the junior sports program. With his contributions in setting up, maintaining sports equipment and assisting with sports days.
The school witnessed newfound flexibility, enabling students to pursue their preferred activities.
“Nick’s presence has enabled us to run more effective programs where students can select what they want to do,” shared Smith.
Transitioning from being a student just the year before to now working alongside former Teachers. Nicholas also finds joy working back with the students. He remarked, “All the students are lovely. They’re all very respectful.” This transition also brought its unique set of challenges, which Smith addressed by emphasising the need for clear communication and maintaining professional boundaries.
Throughout the journey, Smith is encouraging Nicholas to voice his preferences and aspirations, ensuring that the Traineeship aligned with his goals. He also recognised the potential to integrate Nicholas’s studies into his role, creating a more enriching experience for both the Trainee and the students.
Of course, as School Program pioneers at the College, there were challenges to tackle, particularly in handling existing connections with students while maintaining professionalism. Smith and Nicholas highlighted the importance of exercising caution and discretion to strike the right balance.
Looking to the future, Nicholas has expressed immense satisfaction with the Traineeship and his eagerness to continue contributing to the school.
Meanwhile, Smith shared his vision of the program’s ongoing evolution, fostering learning and idea-sharing by connecting with Trainees and supervisors from other schools.
The Traineeship journey was made smoother by the unwavering support from AFL SportsReady, which oversees the School Program. Smith praised the availability of Field Officer Brad, who promptly addressed any questions or concerns, emphasising the importance of open communication.
Nicholas’ positive experience exemplifies the value of Traineeships in providing invaluable practical skills and personal growth. As the School Program progresses, Nicholas continues to explore his passion for Teaching and shaping the lives of students. While Smith remains committed to supporting and guiding his development as a supervisor.