What’s your most endearing memory of Radford?
There are many, very many. Creative writing classes with Years 11 and 12. Teaching The Modern Novel and poetry classes to Year 11. Teaching Religious Education classes, and encouraging kids to think broadly about the important things, not just their marks and their ATARS.
The plays we put on at Radford, notably Marat/Sade (with Debbie Whatley) and The Caucasian Chalk Circle, among others. All of them really. In those days, we didn’t have a lot of resources, and our makeshift ‘in-the-round’ stages would probably not pass OH&S regulations now, but we showed what we could do with a great deal of enthusiasm and our own inner resources. I hope I was a cog in the development of a strong Drama tradition at Radford - an intelligent, thoughtful one. We didn’t just put on school plays. We challenged ourselves and our audiences.
Who or what left the greatest impression on you during time at Radford?
I think Graham Wigg, the college’s third principal, left the greatest impression on me. He was an unassuming but strong and wise leader. We didn’t always see eye to eye, but we respected each other greatly, and I felt I grew a great deal as a teacher under his guidance. I liked all the principals during my time at Radford. I think he was one of the best principals I’ve ever worked for, and I think Radford was lucky to have him.
When you think of your time at Radford, what are you most grateful for?
Radford isn’t a place where a teacher can get away with putting in a half-hearted effort. It demanded the best of its teaching staff and it came down hard on you if you didn’t provide it. I’m really grateful for that, because I think Radford made me realise that I was a professional, and I worked very hard there. I hope it brought out the best in me. I’m grateful for that. There’s a lot more job satisfaction in that as well. I think it did the same for students - they worked bloody hard there.
What is unique about Radford?
A great deal. It’s a strong community, but it’s a place with very high standards. Students have opportunities for service to the community and be part of community, but they can also grow and flourish in their own lives and their own studies. Radford’s main flaw, perhaps, is that it sometimes puts too high a value on academic success - that can be hard for some kids.