We check back in with our Year 7-13 Deans, one more time before the end of the term.
Year 7 and 8
For these last few weeks, Year 7 and 8s have been studying the importance of looking out for each other. We have examined the positive effects of the ‘Dine Together’ club in America whose aim it is to leave no child left to eat alone at lunchtimes. We have looked at the meaning behind the ‘we band of brothers’ quote on the sports centre and the importance of togetherness to achieve big. To end the term each form class has been set the task of creating a brief presentation to exemplify being a either a ‘Green man’ about the school or how to best follow the golden rule of ‘do unto others’. These will be shown in form assembly at the start of next term, and the best presentation will win a fitting prize.
Lately, the boys’ form teacher has been working with them on the key competency of managing self. As they continue to get more comfortable with their peers and teachers, we are reminding them about subtle things like setting the right class tone and showing respect. The boys have responded very positively to this and are keen to get it right. We have also noticed that many of the boys are maturing in their approach to their work and their peers, something we are keen to see as they move into the second half of the year. Two weeks ago a had an assembly focusing on the power of words and the consequences of using them incorrectly. We were noticing that boys were not always thinking about the connotation of what they said and how they speak to each other. I discussed them owning what they said and the difference between bullying and banter. The form teacher will be paying close attention to how they choose to communicate with each other.
Years 10 and 11
It has been great to see so many boys involved in so many sports this winter. Recently we have had a Year 10 sporting round-up assembly where boys informed the year group how their season has been going. At Year 10 level there are so many fantastic opportunities for boys to join teams or try a range of sports and at this age, it is easier for boys to do this without NCEA assessments in full view. This is great for boys meeting other students and potentially forming life-long friendships. You only have to see the six Year 10 social basketball teams in action to understand how powerful this form of sport is. It is great for boys to be out there having fun playing sport but importantly socialising together. This takes nothing away from competitive sports, which ensure boys develop accountability, team-work and cooperative skills and an understanding of the practicalities of goal-setting.
It is also just over half-way through the year, and for Year 11 boys this shifts their focus towards the end of the year. Key questions have to be asked now;
Which subject areas am I struggling in?
Am I organised enough?
What are my goals for this year?
I expect Year 11 boys to have more of a focus now in class, be on time all the time and to be putting in the extra work and effort required to meet their goals. I also expect Year 11 boys to have conversations with their subject teachers or form teachers if they feel they need extra assistance. These are the type of mature outlooks we expect our senior McGlashan men to have and now is the time to start putting this into action.
Year 12 and 13:
“Are you committed?” has been my catchphrase over the last 3 weeks and until the end of the term. Commitment, in particular, to Academics and to prioritise this. I have asked teachers of Seniors to tell me of lads that have ‘stepped up and stood out’, raised their effort to get on with the job, focus, homework, organisation, motivation, going to tutorials etc. and am celebrating those named at our weekly meetings.
For Senior boys, there is no time to hang back and cruise, or put things off. We are halfway through the year and now is the time to get stuck in.
I have been impressed with the names being put forward; however, I would love to see more!
Another message has been to organise themselves. Whether in the form of a diary, a list, or schedule, so that they are staying on top of deadlines, prioritising what they are doing and meeting obligations and expectations. Teenage boys are good at getting distracted and putting things off till the last minute. Or they rely on their mates to let them know what is going on and when - so conversations with them at home always help.
What is due? When? What homework do they have? What are you working on and how long have you had to do it? What are you struggling with, and how can we improve?
On a similar note, especially because many seniors can be off school or out of class for various reasons that if they know they are going to be away, be it holiday, sports, work placements... whatever, they need to take the time well in advance to talk to their teachers and organise themselves to keep up with what they missed. It is not the teacher's job to give them extra work or extra time if they are away; a Senior boy needs to take responsibility for this.
I recently left the Year12s with a quote from an old boy, Noah Linscott (who was a very committed student - particularly with his Jazz drumming), which I think sums it up when asked why he spent almost every lunchtime practising his drumming he said:
“The harder I work now, the easier it will be later”.
This term has been extremely busy. The boys worked hard to make our International Food Festival a resounding success. This was an excellent opportunity for our international students to express their cultures, through food, music and dance.
The boys have been taking an active role in preparing for our International Ski Trip. International Prefect, Patrick Zhang, the most recent addition to our team, has been instrumental in helping us organise our events. Our next event is a ski trip to Queenstown in Week 2 next term. We have the means to take up to 50 students, a group comprised of international boys and kiwi boys, to the Remarkables Skifield.
Regarding academic achievement, boys are over halfway through the teaching year and are doing very well in their internal assessments, and are making good progress towards their external exams later in the year. We are working very well together as a team and are also looking forward to an International Social with other schools in Dunedin towards the end of the term.
Keep up the excellent work, everyone.