Michael with his Year 12 English class on their final day of school
Spotlight on Siena Staff is an ongoing series of brief videos and articles that offer a glimpse into the insights, inspirations, and guidance shared by our remarkable Siena College staff. Today, we have the privilege of conversing with Head of Senior Pathways, Michael Petrie, to explore his passion for teaching and the unique aspects of Catholic Education.
What do you love most about teaching/working as an educator?
It is lovely to witness the intellectual, emotional and holistic growth of students. Observing their journey as they mature, develop, face challenges and ultimately bloom is a remarkable privilege that transcends any material quantification.
What motivates you in your line of work?
The interactions, sense of community and collegial actions, both within and outside the school gates are inspirational. They can serve as tangible rewards or recognition of the great work being accomplished for and by everyone.
Are there any connections that you have made over the years that have particularly stood out to you?
No single connection necessarily stands out. However, running into former students who are now young adults at various public venues is always a delightful surprise which brings inner joy, knowing that we may have made a difference.
List any conferences/seminars that you have been invited to (be a guest speaker / give a presentation on a particular topic).
In the past, I participated in various seminars and projects aimed at enhancing gender equality and gender strategies in education. This included conducting research and delivering presentations to staff, students and parents.
What appeals to you most about teaching/working in a Catholic school?
Catholic schools unashamedly seek to support and nourish the whole person based on gospel values. Siena College is known for its pursuit of a 'Love One Another' attitude, infused with a Dominican flavour. We may not be the only ones or even the best, but we are recognised for our unwavering commitment to this principle. Working in such an empowering atmosphere is truly fulfilling.
Who were your favourite teachers (or someone who has influenced you to pursue this vocation / career path) growing up? Why?
I was fortunate to experience the unwavering love and support from countless dedicated Brothers during my secondary school years and Nuns during my primary school years. Their genuine passion for their work, and their devotion to children and the community left a lasting impression on me. I aspired to be like the best versions of them.
Things you would say to a parent who is looking for a secondary school for their child.
Choose a school that suits your child's needs and interests, while also challenging them in various endeavours, all within your budget. Go to the Open Days or tours and a develop a sense of whether you could envisage your child thriving in the ways that you observe.