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Welcome back to all families and boys this term. The last month has certainly shown the agility and flexibility of staff, families and students. But it is lovely to see the School back again buzzing with the boys on campus.

Towards the end of last term, I asked each Year 9 student to write me a letter, detailing three things

  1. What are you hoping to bring to your House in the next four years?
  2. How will you demonstrate the three values of the School – truth, respect and service – in your time here?
  3. How will you use your character strengths to contribute to your learning and/or your life at School?

It was lovely reading in the holidays to read the hopes and aspirations of our young men for the next three or four years of their lives. I would like to thank every boy that took the time to write a detailed response to this, and I hope families were able to see these letters when their son received a merit for undertaking this task by the end of Term 1. I encourage all Year 9 parents to ask their son about this letter and ask to read what they wrote.

One thing that stood out was the difference between the students who clearly took their time to write a detailed and thoughtful response, often over a page of writing, and those who rushed to put something together. In my class, I make a point of nagging my students frequently about changing their mentality when it comes to their learning. Boys need to stop asking the teacher “Is this the least I can do?” (to get the teacher/my parents off my back) and they instead need to start asking themselves ‘Is this the best I can do?”.

It’s a really important, and honest, question students need to start asking themselves as Year 9s or 10s in particular. When given a task, many students will ask their teacher “Have I written enough for this question?” What they are really asking is, “Have I done enough so I won’t get in trouble?” This is a habit that they simply have to change. Learning shouldn’t be about a fear of being in trouble or avoiding having to come back at recess or spending time on the weekend doing a task again. Learning is about pushing yourself, finding ways to get better, improve and reach your potential.

Our students need to be honest and ask themselves “Have I actually given this my best?” I suspect all too often the honest answer would be that they haven’t. Of course, life throws many competing interests and expectations on students. It is absolutely understandable that they can’t always give their best to every single task as they juggle legitimate demands of co-curricular, family and social lives. But it would be great if boys developed the habit of honestly asking themselves if they’ve given their best. Some students do indeed give their best each time. And it’s amazing what they can achieve. I set each student this challenge – what could you achieve if you actually gave every task your best? In the end, only they themselves will know the honest answer.

David Scott
Head of Senior Years