17 year old Student X ( we have withheld his name for privacy purposes) had a very poor attendance record, when he did attend school he rarely participated in classes. He was deemed by past testing to have a reading age of 6.

On a rare day, when he was in attendance and sitting quietly in class but not doing much at all, I encouraged him to look at The Grow programme website and asked him to let me know if it would be something that he thought would be of interest to our class to try. I also asked him to reflect on the things he liked to do and how those skills and interests could be used in The Grow Programme micro business.

Only 40 minutes later, Student X had contacted Jane Pascall (owner of The Grow Programme) via email requesting more information on The Grow Programme as he thought it was a great idea. Jane responded to this well written, professional email with a request to set up a meeting with his teacher. He responded politely and professionally. As a result, Jane contacted me, and we agreed to meet. I deliberately included Student X in our meeting as it was his initiative that had led us to this point. Jane and I included him in all discussions and we praised his initiative to seek out a programme that now had the attention of all the FSK students, his enthusiasm was indeed infectious.

Student X had already searched through the products, made suggestions and had set up business spreadsheets. He was more than happy to confidently appoint himself as the accountant!

From that day forward, Student X’s attendance at school improved, he had taken his role in The Grow Programme seriously, he has applying himself without very much encouragement at all. He had gone about composing emails requesting quotes and making suggestions. He received great praise from his peers, and I am simply astounded at the turn around in his attitude to learning. His level of literacy appeared way above what had been reflected in the testing that had deemed him at life skills level.

To my further amazement, before he left year 12, Student X mentioned that he is now wanting to pursue a career in Business and how he was considering working towards entry into university, possibly via TAFE…… WOW!!

As a teacher, it is these wonderful moments that make all the challenges of teaching worthwhile. I know that The Grow Programme can change lives and learning outcomes. My class applied their individual skills collaboratively to create amazing outcomes. They are proud of their work, proud of the fact that they are the students who have pioneered The Grow Programme to leave as a legacy for up and coming students. We have committed to continue running the programme at Callaghan and we are now discussing the possibility of cross curriculum activities that demonstrate to students the relevance of what they are learning at school to a real contemporary online business that produces actual products that feature student art that are available online.

Kayla Loyola
Callaghan College Jesmond Senior Campus