Friday 9th August 2019

Our junior, senior, and international deans share their wisdom mid-term...

9MBE Hard at work P6 Friday
9MBE Hard at work P6 Friday

Year 7 and 8

The boys in the junior school have returned eager to build on their excellent efforts over the first two terms. In our first get together of the term we used Shane Lowry’s British Open golf success for some inspiration. Day 3 in golf tournaments is known as ‘moving day’. It is when golfers combine being well warmed up, with a stronger knowledge of the course and energy still in the tank to soar up the leaderboard. Lowry, an unheralded 100-1 outsider, did this setting a course record on his way to victory in golf’s biggest tournament. Our boys have been urged to use Term 3 as their ‘moving’ term as they look to hone their skills by year’s end and make the most of the pleasing foundations many have put in place already.

Other areas we will touch on this term as a cohort will be using our mid-year reports wisely to target where we can improve. Being mindful that areas to improve need to be seen ‘as not yet achieved’ is important. All skills take time to form and that failure is essential for good learning are key ideas we will discuss. We will also be promoting the essential part reading has in our learning a little more too. Hopefully, a few keynote speakers will help convince the boys of the benefits of reading often and for the need to read a wider variety of material.

Year 9

It has been great to see the boys come back enthused and ‘full of beans’. There were some tired young men at the end of last term and I know their form teachers have asked them to reflect on their self-care, such as bed times, device use, and the level of sporting commitments they have. We have started this term with a focus on kindness and its important to both individual well being and building good relationships. I am challenge the boys to ‘catch each other out’ being kind and have created a Google Form they can fill in any time in order to anonymously do this. The first week generated nineteen responses and it was heart-warming to see not only that they were noticing each other’s actions but that they wanted to have it recognised. That first group had their names go into the hat and one lucky person won a bar of chocolate. We will continue this, and each week will change how we reward those who have been ‘caught’. Over the next few weeks, we have a few other ideas planned to helping the boys be explicit in their kindness to themselves and others, so feel free to ask what we are doing or what I have challenged them to do.

Year 10 and 11

It is great to see the boys back and refreshed for the ‘business end’ of the year. Reports have gone out and I would hope good honest conversations have been had around what has been going well and what needs extra focus on. It is so important that boys are aware of achievements and these are acknowledged and they are also sharpened as to what are the next steps. Year 10s now need to be thinking about what their course may look like next year. Information will be coming out towards the end of this term about subject selections for 2020. The more conversations around this the better. I have already spoken to the Year 11s about them identifying what are the areas they need to focus on as they move towards Term 4. For some this may mean they need to take up the various opportunities for extra tutoring and this is something that is more beneficial now than in Term 4.

Tutoring times:

Year 11 - Tutoring times — Image by: Tom Casey

All Year 11’s should be checking their NCEA credit count to make sure that they are on track.

Boys will need 50 excellence or 50 merit for an endorsement.

They can gain an endorsement for a course if, in a single school year, they achieve:

  • 14 or more credits at Merit or Excellence, and

  • at least 3 of these credits from externally assessed standards and 3 credits from internally assessed standards. Note, this does not apply to Physical Education, Religious Studies and level 3 Visual Arts.

Year 12 and 13

Term 3 already! It really is flying by, and many Year 13’s are underway applying for halls, scholarships and deciding, discussing or thinking about what to do next year.

The boys have been reminded that we are in the ‘business’ part of the year (not that any parts are anything less!) and what is left can now be counted in days, so time is of the essence and not to be wasted.

Building on this message is that of preparation, especially when so many have numerous out of curriculum commitments and things that may take them away from class time or study. Holidays, illnesses, sports, field trips and a range of commitments frequently take many lads away for lengths of time and thus has its affects keeping up with work, due dates, gaps in knowledge etc so my message is one of ‘be prepared’... to talk to teachers well in advance if they know they are going away, see each one and discuss what can be done to keep up. It is disappointing that many do not do this and expect their teacher to be flexible upon returning. To aid this I encourage all seniors, if they know they are going to be away, to see me and all their teachers and write down what they need to be doing before they go. This is especially important as many will away in for Tournament Week. Please keep discussions going at home around plans for next year, including with Year 12s (returning for Year 13 may not be the best option for all).

Rachael Gardiner is simply a ‘Legend’ with the amount of work she does helping to set the boys up for their futures beyond McGlashan. She has interviewed every Year 12, collates information for, writes or organises testimonials and references for all Year 13s and gives outstanding Careers insight. An example of her amazing efforts is the recent “Independence Day” were old boys came in and discussed different career paths and courses, trades, wellbeing and what to expect beyond McGlashan. To help her, please have those important chats about courses, careers, goals, strengths, passions, etc. with your lad. Nothing is set in stone but having something to aim for, whatever it is or how long term it may be, is an important motivator for success and helps avoid being ‘swept away’ by distractions.

As the Prefects tend to do with their last words each week, I will finish with a relevant quote...

“A man who procrastinates in his choosing will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance.” - Hunter S. Thompson

International Dept

This term has been especially busy for the international boys, many of whom are working towards their OCESOL speech exams. The exams are in Week 9 and gives the boys the opportunity to improve their speaking and presenting skills, as well as gain their confidence in English proficiency.

We have just had the International Ski trip which was great fun with 50cm of fresh powder over 2 days. This gave our boys the chance to improve their skiing skills. For others, it was a chance to try something new.

This term, my goal is to provide some strategies to complement the teaching and learning of our international students. This will help our boy’s academic achievement, and enable them to achieve their goals.

Deans for 2019 — Image by: Barry Kelk