Meet Liam Wood and Lochie the therapy dog! Liam is Lead Teacher at the Berry Street School’s Noble Park campus and has been working with us since early 2019. Liam adopted Lochie not long after joining Berry Street. Lochie then went through therapy dog training, graduating in March 2020.
1. What is a typical day at work for you?
Lochie and I greet each young person on arrival and eat breakfast together before the day’s learning begins. At morning circle, students reflect on their values and character strengths before calming themselves through reading, with Lochie cuddling up to young people who are struggling. I then teach a wellbeing class with Lochie or we visit other classes, observing teaching and supporting student wellbeing.
2. What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy making the school a place where students feel a sense of belonging and see their own success. I love seeing our students overcome their doubts, achieve their goals, and support one another. A highlight of my day is when teachers and students come together to celebrate success.
3. What are the main differences between working at the Berry Street School compared to a mainstream school?
After leaving mainstream education, I realised that our vulnerable young people often have far fewer support systems in their lives than students in mainstream schools.
At the Berry Street School we support students in many aspects of their lives, working closely with carers and support services to rebuild those positive connections so they can thrive.
Student wellbeing, self-regulation and supportive relationships are at the core of everything we do.
4. How does Lochie support students’ learning and wellbeing?
Lochie lived on the street for a year before he was rescued and found his way to me. He has a great heart but had experienced so much trauma and needed time to learn how to trust again. Students sense this in Lochie and connect with him instantly. Lochie reads people well and always finds students who are feeling flat or overwhelmed. He dislikes conflict and puts a calming paw on anyone who has lost themselves in the heat of the moment.
5. Do you have a message for our supporters?
Thank you for your contribution to our work and school. It’s a privilege to work with these young people and families, and we couldn’t help them succeed without your support.