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Celebration Week: Evan Costello – St Paul’s College

Evan Costello has taught students across junior, middle and senior classes at St Paul’s College for the past 10 years. His teaching and disability experience is interesting and varied, including a house coordinator in a Community Residential Unit, teaching in a remote Indigenous community in the Northern Territory, and three years teaching at an international school in Lisbon, Portugal.

What do you love about your role?

I love working with students (even the very tough ones!) as well as their families who I have always valued. Empathy is an extremely valuable skill and I have learnt so much from parents about the whole picture of their unique child. I am also quite social so have loved working with a huge variety of colleagues during my career.

What is the biggest change you’ve seen from when you started at VMCH to now?

I have seen many changes over the years at St. Paul’s College. While the old Kew site had many good points it was getting very old and the change to our new Balwyn Site has meant the school actually looks a lot more like a school now! There have been vast changes in methodology in teaching students with special needs over the years and there have been many advances in individualising the program for students, and of course technology has changed our landscape. However, I belong more in the group that believe that teaching is an “Art” as well as a “Science” and I believe many of the things that we did in the past had intrinsic worth and value. I think in some ways in the past we were able to work with students in a more natural and free flowing manor. But times change and we all need to adapt and I have tried my best to continue learning.

What does it mean to you to work at VMCH?

VMCH has always been an organisation that has fostered its staff. Professional development as well as that sense of community and spirituality have been aspects that I have particularly valued.

What to do like to do outside of work?

I love to keep fit (playing badminton for many years). I also enjoy movies, volunteering, travel and reading. The last few months of lockdown have been a big change for me. I used to be out at least five nights per week doing this and that but have learnt to slow down, walk a lot in my community, get to know my neighbours and be truly in my local neighbourhood.