If there is a constant theme so far in the life of ELTHAM College’s director of senior years, Mark Pobjoy, it is building – building the young academic minds of his students … and actual buildings.
Almost 15 years ago, Mark built his home in St Andrews with his family. Years earlier, he had the opportunity to build something without walls around the same area. It was an actual rocket, which he and other year 9 students got to launch at the Puckapunyal Army Base.
“It is one of my favourite memories from school,” Mark says.
3 things I have learned
1. In working with our students what we see is not always the reality. We need to look beneath the surface.
2. Respect is something that every individual needs to earn, whether you are a student, teacher or principal.
3. Involvement and engagement in a variety of activities leads to success in life.
Growing up in inner-city Richmond, Mark’s passion for education increased after successfully completing his own schooling at North Richmond Primary and Richmond Technical School and later at RMIT where he studied to become a teacher.
He started teaching in the public system before moving to other independent schools and then to ELTHAM College, where he has been teaching and working with students and staff to build the school community for the past 27 years.
Mark’s career has seen him work to provide a caring and academically diverse environment for ELTHAM College students. “Education to me is about developing, understanding and supporting the social, emotional and academic growth of a young person,” he says.
“It is about providing an environment where young people feel secure and safe and that they have the ability to make decisions and receive guidance.”
His current role as director of senior years, Mark says, has given him a chance to become more involved in the college’s direction.
“I see it as an opportunity to have direct input into the future of ELTHAM College and the students’ lives. It’s also an opportunity for me to give back to an institution that had supported me over a long period of time.”
Mark says his biggest inspiration over his years of schooling and teaching are the students. “To see the growth, the change and the maturity in our young people is truly inspiring and makes every year different and a challenge,” he says.
“Education to me is about developing, understanding and supporting the social, emotional and academic growth of a young person.”
When Mark’s students face challenges themselves, he has great advice to help them rebuild their lives.
“I tell them that even when life doesn’t go the way you want, or events in your life are difficult, this is your deck of cards; this is what you have been dealt, and we need to work together to give you the skills and resilience to deal with situations that you are confronted by,” Mark says.
“My proudest moment is when I see young people who have had to deal with difficult situations walk across the valedictory stage at the end of each year.”
Through his work, Mark is helping to build young students into successful adults. But outside his role with ELTHAM College, Mark is helping to build new families.
He says his hobby is being a marriage celebrant performing about 10 weddings each year – normally for his former students.
“It’s at times like these, in particular, that I look forward to seeing ELTHAM College continue to support young people to achieve their dreams, develop their passion and successfully move on to the next chapter of their lives,” he says.
ABOUT ELTHAM COLLEGE
- ELTHAM College is an independent school on 40 hectares of land in Melbourne’s north-west.
- Caters for students from early learning to year 12.
- Aims to develop students who are wise, confident, optimistic, curious, flexible and resilient to become passionate, active and engaged citizens of our ever-changing world.