Director of Learning

Director of Learning

Goodly pearls

During times of challenge we often resort to analogies and metaphors to assert our point, to scramble for meaning.  This is sometimes regarded as a lazy or inefficient manner of communication.  However, there is a strong case for arguing the power of the metaphor.  It is during times of anticipation, adversity, change or uncertainty that metaphors can enhance our practice and offer clearer articulation of our musings. Metaphors are powerful, as they resonate with both the intellect and the emotion; offering a framework that enables common goals and an anchoring sense of purpose.

It is for this reason that I have been reflecting of late on the poetic words of Mother Gonzaga Barry IBVM:

this set me thinking and wishing our dear Loreto children were a row of goodly pearls. I would string my pearls on a triple cord, strong and sure.

We can dig deep into our own psyches for metaphors that provide clarity and substance to our ephemeral existence, and this can be a comforting and grounding experience.  However, we can also look to those who trod the path before us for the imagery they used to make meaning of their worlds.  The image of the “row of goodly pearls” is powerful and has great resonance today at Loreto Normanhurst.  Each pearl is unique, formed because of the specific conditions of the oyster that is its home; likewise, each student is unique – fostered and cared for in their own contexts – contexts that they bring with them each day in their interactions with each other.  So too are the staff members like pearls, carrying with them a wealth of experience and wisdom that gives their outward layer a particular sheen and their inner-core significant strength.  Indeed, it is in actuality the grime and grit of the oyster that ensures the pearl’s formation, along with its beauty, strength and uniqueness – the perfect metaphor for the fostering of GRIT.

But what is a pearl in isolation?  It can quickly become lost in the haste of life.  The “triple cord, strong and sure” is our values-base, the thread that brings our individual quirks and strengths together, binding us as one.  Without this values-base, the work of our students and staff each day would rapidly dissipate – it would not have depth of meaning and the potential for real-world application and impact.  We urge our students daily to draw on their Loreto values-base; their “triple cord”.  It is this “triple-cord” that binds them together with a united purpose, whilst ensuring they also retain and preserve the gifts that are unique to each of them.  With such strength they will surely move into the world “strong and sure”, with a clear sense of purpose and their own quest to make a difference.  I urge all of us – staff, students and parents – to hold Mother Gonzaga Barry’s metaphor close to our hearts as we forge ahead with our learning in the Loreto community throughout 2018.


Mrs Kieryn Bateman

Director of Learning