Born in Katanning, 300 kilometers southeast of Perth, Caleb Rocco had never travelled further north than Joondalup before taking a job at Hedland Senior High School in the Pilbara.
The maths and Japanese teacher, who had studied secondary education majoring in language teaching at Curtin University, was offered a job teaching lower ability students at the school by the Maths Head of Learning Area in 2019.
“It was a big move,” he said. “I knew no one up here when I arrived, but I grew up in a smaller town – Katanning has a population 3,500 people – and the team is so good here that it wasn’t hard to adapt.”
“Hedland Senior High School didn’t offer language as a subject at the time, but they are well known for supporting their teachers to start initiatives up,” he said.
“I started a Japanese class this year with the Year Sevens, and it’s the first language that’s ever been offered at Hedland Senior High School. I think the kids are really enjoying it. We’re focusing on the culture as well as the characters and phrases and it’s great to be able to do that.”
Caleb’s ambition is to ultimately grow the language program to incorporate Indigenous languages and become more community focused.
“Language is such a huge part of community and culture,” he said. “It’s something I could really see the local Hedland community get involved in.”
Caleb said he got a kick out of teaching maths to students who were struggling with the subject.
“I want to be able to get the students out of that maths funk,” he said.
“Seeing them realise how much they can improve when they put the effort in is just hugely gratifying to me as a teacher.”
Thank you Caleb for all you are bringing to the students at Hedland Senior High School, and to the broader Hedland community.