Recently the deans have had some time to meet together more regularly as a group, and one project we have been working on is a mentoring structure, where Year 13 and some select Year 12s are paired with boys in Years 7-10.
This was the brainchild of the Year 12 & 13 dean, Glen Clark. He has had a fantastic, and large, group of boys volunteer to get alongside a junior student that the deans will pair them with. The project aims to develop a ‘big brother/buddy’ style relationship that helps the junior student navigate both the academic and social sides of life at high school. The junior deans, via the form teachers, were asked to nominate students they thought would benefit from this type of relationship and last Wednesday, we met to pair the boys up. We took this very seriously, and some great discussions were had about what would be the ‘best fit’. The key part of the project is that it is not, initially, a formalised and scheduled meet up. Instead, the mentors will occasionally pop over to where the student they are paired with tends to be during breaks and get to know both them and their group of friends, building the relationship from there. The mentors themselves are going to undergo some training around building the type of relationship we want to see - mentor, not friend - and we hope the casual ‘meetups’ will be underway by the time you read this. We are not, at this stage, being explicit with the younger boys about being nominated, but this may change as the project develops.
We look forward to reporting back in the next Pilkington Press about how it is all going!
Years 7 and 8
Years 7 and 8 have been focussing on the quote posted above the Davies Sports Centre, "We few, we happy few, we band of brothers” and what it means. Keeping an eye out for each other, teamwork, being inclusive and interacting positively are all themes being explored. Week Four, Friday will see the Dean's Pizza Lunch take place for the 18 or so boys that were commended by two different subject teachers for their positive actions at the end of last term. Congratulations to those boys and the other 27 boys who got at least one commendation. Excellent stuff!
The focus for the next few weeks is on the concepts of empathy and kindness. We have started looking at what the difference is between sympathy and empathy; which the boys understood immediately. We are also going to do something similar to the Year 7 and 8 group and revisiting that quote in the Davies Sports Centre. As the boys are getting more comfortable, they are settling into their friendship groups and becoming creatures of habit around how they use their break time. We want to encourage them to think beyond their core group of friends and make sure everyone is feeling comfortable and included. In other news, it has been pleasing to note the number of Purple Cards handed out for far this term; ten at last count. The number of boys needing to make up time for being late has also significantly decreased, with only two at the end of the first week of the term.
Years 10 and 11
Staff and students were talked to recently by Robert Periera, an International Educational Consultant and author of “Why We Bully”. One of his themes was the concept of ‘thinking twice’ - an important concept when faced with a challenge or when something goes wrong. When we are faced with a problem or a challenge our first automatic response is negative - “I can’t do this”, “I’m no good at that” or “It was all his fault”... which weigh us down and we don’t feel good about doing it or more importantly about having a go at it. Boys have to think TWICE when this happens. They should be saying, “I’ll try again” or “I can do better” or “I’ll work harder next time” or ‘I gave it my best” If they can do this more often their mindset changes. This seems obvious, but in fact, our Year 10 and 11 boys need practice at school and at home to master it. The challenge is for Year 10, and 11’s to develop the skills to be able to deal with all types of challenges and setbacks in life; in the classroom, on the sports field and in many other spheres, and this is one way they can - THINK TWICE.
Years 12 and 13
With the School Formal just behind us, the focus over the last few weeks has been about setting the scene for that and the expectations that go along with such an event. I expected that at such an occasion our young men would ‘scrub up’ excellently and conduct themselves as fine young gentlemen… “It is about your dates, not your mates”. Much work was done by senior lads organising it, especially Sam Clulee, who has organised almost all of the event.
A discussion with my Year 12s last week was on the topic of ‘banter’ and using appropriate, positive language and saying nice things to each other...instead of the often incessant ‘roasting’, a lot of which may take place these days online. What would your self-image and belief be like if all you heard said about yourselves was a put-down or being made fun of? Especially when more often than not those people think very highly of us… but if we never got to hear the good things and only ever something humiliating and unfair… how might we think of ourselves? Boys are often quick to ‘make fun’ and justify it as “Oh, it’s just a bit of banter, Sir”... but at what cost and what right do we have to decide what someone else might find offensive?