Mr Milton Cujes, headmaster, Trinity Grammar School
What made you want to enter teaching?
I can recall making a conscious decision to take up teaching as a career path at the end of Year 10 (many decades ago). I was keen to be engaged in a profession that was highly interactive with others and that reflected community spirit of engagement. In hindsight, other factors such as my own very positive experience at school, where I was thoroughly engaged in school life, both in and outside of the classroom, together with my family’s link to education in general, with my father being acknowledged as an excellent teacher and my uncle also being involved in teaching, albeit at tertiary level, no doubt influenced my ambitions in this direction.
What do you like most about working in a school?
In essence it is the ability to work with a team of dedicated and talented professionals who see teaching as a vocational calling in helping students discover and achieve their unique God-given potential. This never ceases to inspire and excite my love of teaching.
What are some of the changes to education that you have witnessed in your time as principal?
In one sense, obviously change has been a continuing factor in education in modern times. Quite significant changes have occurred in terms of pedagogy, curriculum content, assessment matters, as well as the facilities that many schools now provide for their students. However, when it comes to the hidden curriculum of schooling, the dynamics that influence the formation of a student’s character or that impact on their sense of wellbeing, self-worth or motivation — the personal and interpersonal relationships that are inherent in any and every community — schools have changed relatively little in this sense. I was fortunate to have attended Trinity as a student many years ago and today, now into my 20th year as headmaster of the school, I have seen many changes take place at the school over the years. Yet I am pleased to hear from former students who now send their boys to the school that the “feel” of the school remains as they so fondly recall it from their own days at Trinity.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I have served as headmaster in one form or another in three fine schools in three states for more than 30 years now and I have always regarded myself fortunate indeed to have the opportunity to respond to the challenges of the role in a vocational sense in keeping with my personal Christian beliefs. To work in concert with fellow dedicated, talented staff, in an engaging, wholehearted manner with those entrusted to our care, encompasses both the “art” as well as the “science” of the practice of teaching and this transforms teaching from being merely an occupation to a most noble profession — a calling worthy of our best endeavours, reflective of our highest ideals.
What are some special achievements of your staff, students and the school that you are most proud of?
Trinity has a good understanding and knowledge of what boys need to flourish in their education. As a school community we are committed to an environment where every boy has his best chance of realising his potential, passions and purpose in life. At Trinity we help boys realise their God-given talents in a holistic sense by promoting their all-round development — intellectually, physically and spiritually — based on a Biblical understanding of the Christian faith. We do this through the provision of a proven, extensive pastoral care network that provides high levels of individual student care and attention which enables us to know, nurture and challenge each boy along his unique educational journey. The achievements of our boys from generation to generation, both in terms of sporting, co-curricular and academic laurels, testify to the school’s commitment and success in supporting our boys to achieve their potential.
The school’s breadth of offerings, not only in sport and co-curricular activities, but also in terms of differentiated academic pathways beyond the standard HSC curriculum, such as the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme and the Primary Years Programme, the Trinity Vocational Academic courses and the recently introduced School-Based Traineeships, which we now offer as a Registered Training Organisation, testify to our determination not to rest on our laurels but to continue to work creatively and effectively to meet the diverse educational needs of our boys, so as to enhance their learning experiences at Trinity. Our newest endeavour in establishing our Environmental Field Studies campus on the south coast of NSW is our latest venture, providing opportunities which will help facilitate the understanding of geographical and other processes. Fieldwork offsite can enhance learning opportunities for a wide range of students because it caters for a variety of teaching and learning styles. Students will learn by applying their practical experiences to their theoretical learning.
What hopes do you have for the future of your school?
In one sense, the challenge going forward is to always build constructively on the past and to respond to the challenges of the future, not only in terms of “reading, writing and arithmetic” but also in terms of fulfilling the holistic nature of our Christian educational goals at the school. At Trinity we are not only charged with the responsibility of teaching “the facts” as such, but are also committed to teaching beliefs and values in keeping with our heritage as an evangelical Anglican Christian school. In informing and transmitting our heritage, including the belief system and values of a Christian life, we are neither ignorant nor disparaging of competing belief systems in our multi-cultural community. We are committed to developing in our boys a capacity to evaluate the conflicting views and values they encounter in today’s pluralistic society, a capacity which includes:
All of these skills are part and parcel of the challenge of going forward, as is the importance of the personal example we set before our boys.
What is your motto for running a successful school?
In one sense, I can’t do better than state our school’s motto: “Detur gloria soli deo” (Let glory be given to God alone).