How Our Students Become Our Greatest Teachers

The younger generations hold the key to creating a better future. Every day I learn something new from…

The younger generations hold the key to creating a better future.

Every day I learn something new from St Hilda’s girls. When you spend your days with over 1000 girls and young women aged from 3 to 18, your learning curve is steep and constantly evolving. Our girls have strong views on global, national and local topics (just visit a Politics and Law ATAR class to see this in action!) and aren’t afraid to speak their truth. They encourage us to be open to unlearning and relearning, especially on social topics that can generate differing generational views.

Our Senior School students (Gen Z) are a generation that understands that they are worth more than any title or achievement. They value people for who they are and accept that everyone has a right to be respected and accepted. They are open to diversity and inclusion and tell me their favourite school value is Authenticity. They stand up for what they believe is right. They are open to change and adapt without over-analysing.

Gen Z understands the strength of teamwork, collaboration, and co-creation. Age is not a deterrent or barrier to achieving their goals. They celebrate others and appreciate that other people’s success does not detract from their success. They are socially conscious and aware of issues that dominate the news and social media. They actively engage in dialogue, respectfully, and with fresh insight. They bring new ways of thinking to problem-solving and can often embrace new technologies and ideas more naturally than other generations.

They are optimistic about the future and understand that in a modern world, it’s OK for intelligence to look different; in fact, it can be a distinct advantage. We have a handful of Gen Z teachers on staff, and I love what they bring to St Hilda’s. In the coming years, Gen Z will be our Kindergarten parents. I look forward to seeing what they will bring to modern education. Every conversation with Gen Z is a chance to learn something new, and sometimes question our own thinking.

Our Junior School students (Gen Alpha) keep us on our toes, especially when it comes to technology. They are digital natives and technology is integrated into every aspect of their lives. They leverage technology in intuitive ways. Just spend five minutes with a Year 2 student and an iPad and I promise you will learn something new! A conversation with our Year 6 Environmental Prefects reminds us of how environmentally conscious Gen Alpha is. They also teach us new ways to educate and engage them.

Gen Alpha is being raised in a more emotionally expressive society. They understand the importance of emotional intelligence, empathy, and mental health awareness. They, too, teach us valuable lessons about inclusivity and the importance of having an equitable world for everyone.

I would like to acknowledge our students for continuing to inspire us (and challenge us!) in our thinking. Thank you for seeing the world through a refreshing lens. Thank you for breaking down barriers and inspiring us in our thinking and thank you for accepting people for who they are and what they bring to our community.

Thank you, students, for being our teachers.

Fiona Johnston