Good Morning Ellenbrook, say hello to Mr Rod Simeons.
I was fortunate enough to meet Mr Rod Simeons, Principal of the Anne Hamersley School and was so impressed with his wise and generous attitude to life that I asked if I could share a little of his story on our Facebook.
Mr Simeons, despite not living in Ellenbrook, is a very respected teacher and has been educating the children in this area for many years. In 2015 he was asked to develop and design the new Annie’s Landing School, and in our meeting, I was given a little insight into just how much effort and vision, Mr Simeons put into creating the Anne Hamersley School.
Everything within and around the school from the name, to the classroom layout, staff room placement, playground equipment, furniture colour and design, curriculum choices and even to the staff hiring has been given an incredible amount of thought. Everything about the school is focused on creating the best possible education and personal development outcomes for the students.
I was shown the Virtues program that each child is exposed to. Every two weeks the children are introduced to a trait or quality that assists them to make wise life choices. Virtues such as caring, kindness, respect and compassion are taught to the whole school community.
If the children do something unkind or thoughtless that doesn’t fit into the Schools Virtue Philosophy, the children are taught how to reflect on their actions and how their behaviours may have adversely impacted on themselves or others. The school also has a ‘Passport’ success system so all children regardless of ability, can and are, working towards feeling like they are ‘High Achievers’.
I believe you can gauge the measure of the greatness of a person by their capacity to see the value in others. I felt this was reflected in Mr Simeons as he spoke highly, of how wonderfully skilled each of the teachers working at the school are. He feels they each individually bring remarkable teaching qualities to the school that make the learning environment richer for the staff and students.
Mr Simeons himself was born and educated in Northern India and received his teaching qualifications at the Calcutta University. His first teaching position was in an orphanage in Calcutta where he honed many of the life skills and wisdom that he is now sharing with the Anne Hamersley community. He has vast experience in teaching and has been working with students and families in all areas of Western Australia for over 53 years.
I first met Mr Simeons at the launch of the Edmund Rice After School sports program that he has welcomed into the school. At the opening he spoke of his vision for the school to be the centre of the community and inviting the Edmund Rice program into the school was part of that vision. I felt Mr Simeons is trying to remind us all that it takes a community to raise a child and he is assisting us, by creating a space to bring the Annie’s Landing community together.
I really enjoyed my conversation with Mr Simeons and recognised within him a vast source of lived wisdom. Wisdom from living a life where he has been prepared to follow his unique virtues driven path of education. He showed me that by living his passion and love for education and life, he can’t help but share and gift his wonderful life philosophy to the staff, students and families.
When I asked Mr Simeons how he could know if the students were embracing his teaching ideas, he answered that you can see it in the positive attitude of the school community. And I must agree with him. As I was taken on a tour of the school, I was amazed at connection and appreciation Mr Simeons had with all his students and staff. He noticed, praised and empowered everyone. My favourite moments were the children rushing up to him, calling “Mr Simeons, Mr Simeons, I only have 1 stamp or 3 stamps to achieve my ‘High Achiever’ badge”.
Thank you, Mr Simeons, for the work you do in our community. Thank you for sharing your life’s vision. I was enriched by our conversation. Thank you for the effort you and your teaching staff give every day to help our children achieve their full potential.