Time to check in with our Deans...
Years 7 and 8 - with Mr Duncan
The start to the year has been a very positive one in the junior department. Every student in Year 7 and 8 has been working hard to meet the challenge set to them in the first week of making a great first impression in this first month of school. I, along with the rest of the staff have been impressed with how the Year 8s have continued from where they left off from last year and with how the Year 7s have taken on all the new procedures and requirements needed here at the college not to mention how well they have adapted to their new environment.
Several pupils have really stood out in this time, and as a result, Maita Madambi, Ryan Hamilton, Sam Eason, Izaac Foster, Daniel O’Brien and Samuel Usher were all acknowledged with Dean awards for their consistently positive attitude, exemplary manners and their real desire to learn.
Moving on from here, the boys have now been urged not to let things slip. The analogy is to be like Brendon McCullum and not settle for a hundred but to push on and achieve something special like his 300 vs India. Being punctual, being receptive to advice and maintaining high personal standards were all ways suggested for the group to help achieve this aim in an academic sense. From what I have seen already, I am confident that this crop of Year 7 and 8s will manage this with aplomb.
Good start boys. Keep it going!
Year 9 - with Mrs Mullenger
As you will see from the article in this recent newsletter, the boys did extremely well completing the mental and physical challenge that was the Rail Trail. I was especially proud of the second group who had 31 degrees uphill on the first day and 13 degrees downhill into the rain and wind on the second day. I think the boys figured out why the gear list had polyprop leggings on it even though it was summer! A key aspect of doing the Rail Trail was to encourage a growth mindset and get the boys to see what grit and perseverance feel like. This is a theme we will continue with this year, and I asked them what they had learnt from the experience. I was delighted to see comments like, “That I can get through things that are tough” and “That it feels good to help others”. Each week during my Monday assembly I set the boys a challenge for the week ahead. Last week I asked them to think about the next challenge they would undertake that would place them outside their comfort zone. Again the boys accepted the challenge and fed back to me about things like going to Excel Tutoring and joining cadets. As the boys get more confident with their environment and peers, we often see them pushing more of the subtle boundaries so this week they have been reminded about getting the tone right; both in how they speak to each other and how they treat their environment. They have been reminded that picking up after themselves is important. All in all, there is a lovely atmosphere in Gilray, their homeroom block, and popping out of my office to chat with them during breaks is one of the highlights of my day.
Years 10 and 11 - with Mr Casey
I talked to the Year 11 group recently and outlined some of the differences between being a senior and a junior. This is a snapshot of that talk.
There are many differences between being a senior and junior, but three differences that I see with our boys are:
1. When you become a Year 11 it just feels better because you are no longer Year 10 - it’s gone! It’s much better being a senior and being seen to be one of the older guys around school. One of the guys that the younger boys look up to, just like you looked up to those seniors when you were a junior.
2. Some teachers may start treating you a little different, especially if they see you showing maturity. Believe me teachers around here really like to teach and help those students who want to learn and get it right. Your teachers want to get to know you, and this will help you to do as well as you can. So ask if you need something - that's what seniors do.
3. Seniors take responsibility for their learning - You are now expected to drive your learning, not your parents telling you what to do and when. That’s junior stuff. Boys at McGlashan really step up to this challenge. You now need to be organised and use a system to stay up to date. Term one is busy. It takes a bit of effort to make sure you are organised. This is a priority as the stakes are higher now. STAC exchange, summer tournament week, rugby trips, as well as activities you are doing outside of school all need to be prioritised.
So, if there is one thing to take home it is to think ahead, be organised and take charge of what you are working to achieve - because that’s what seniors do.
Year 12 and 13 - with Mr Clark
After the initial meetings on ‘stepping up’ this year; into greater leadership, maturity, responsibility and role modelling, reputation, goal setting and all the activities from the Year 13 Induction Day my message to the boys, other than the consistent ‘get the basics right’ (uniform, punctuality, attitude, language), is currently on Service and what our boys can offer our community. With help from a small and passionate group of Year 13 lads, I am promoting the benefits of giving time to others. We are looking for and collecting service opportunities that the boys can sign up to and donate their time and care (so if you have any suggestions, send them my way!) with the idea that we source the opportunities for them and the lads can then ‘sign up and turn up’.
It was great to meet many parents and the ‘Meet the Form Teacher’ evening. We covered the requirements for Seniors and expectations, the Pastoral Care team and opportunities available for Seniors and how we started the year
Worth communicating too is clarity on Year 13’s and study periods. Currently, they can use study periods (usually 1x per day) however they choose (though we recommend studying!) and can leave school grounds, however only if they sign in and out at the school office and it does not impact on any contact periods. They do however need to be at form time even if that study falls at Period 1. This is a privilege, and it can be revoked if it is not done right, i.e. late’s, absences or behaviour outside of school during these times is not reflective of our high expectations. Please help to monitor and enforce this (including arriving on time for form times in the morning!)
Year 12's cannot leave school grounds during the school day at all unless there is a note.
It has been a really positive and enthusiastic start, and I am proud to say it is an amazing cohort of Seniors. As the Term and the Year rolls on I hope to see that vibe continue and even grow, and as Assessments, demands and pressures ramp up, that the boys are resilient and motivated to step up and meet those challenges keenly and with determination.
International - with Mr Mountain
This year we have 31 International students from countries ranging from China, Germany, Korea, Italy, Thailand and Hong Kong. We have four new students this year who are settling into kiwi life at McGlashan well.
I look after the boys' academic achievement and help with their wellbeing. I teach them ESOL which gives me plenty of contact time with them. They have individual pathways made for each of them so that they can integrate into the college as quickly as possible and do the best they possibly can. I organise out of school tutorials for them, so if any boys need a tutor, they can come and see me at any time.
We have some prefects this year helping me with organising the international socials, food day and school trips. This year we plan on going to Doubtful Sound for an overnight cruise and Queenstown for a weekend skiing. Coming up this term we have an International Social which is organised by a group we created called DISC (Dunedin International Student Committee). Schools from around Otago come and join us for these socials, which involve ice skating, bowling, laser tag and mini golf.
If international students have any questions or problems regarding their academic progress or wellbeing, they can come and talk to me anytime in Room 5. For any other matters, they can see Ms O'Connor in the International Office.