10 September 2018

From the Head of Junior School

Where Does Success Come From?

On Thursday 30 August, the Junior School held its annual Fathers' Day Breakfast. The boys were proud to bring their fathers into the Dining Room and enjoyed being able to share a bacon roll, a smile and a laugh. They also delighted in socialising with their friends before school. We were privileged this year to have Mr Drew Petrie, a 316 game veteran with the North Melbourne Kangaroos join us to talk about his career as a footballer. He regaled us with his efforts as a father and a professional athlete and the challenge of combining both, especially in the latter end of his career.

One of the poignant comments Mr Petrie made in his talk to the boys, was how intensely he was watched over the course of his career. He described how he was watched on the training field for how far and how hard he ran. He was watched during games for his effort, his passing and tackling and the number of kilometres he ran. He was watched in the gym for how he lifted weights, how much weight he lifted and how often he trained. He was watched in the cafeteria and his food was monitored each and every day. Interestingly, he didn't attribute that scrutinisation to his success. He attributed his success to what he did when he was not being watched which included how he exercised, how he ate, how much water he drank and how he studied the games. That is where his success came from.

This made me pause to think about our students and how we, as teachers, work so closely with them each and every day. How closely we watch the boys at school and how they interact with one another. We watch how they read, how they write, how they do their Maths, how they spell, how they engage in Art, PE and Performing Arts lessons, and how much of the day is under the supervision and the guidance (rightly so) of the teachers in this school. It also made me think about how much of that scrutiny contributes to their success, or is their success and the progress in the classroom down to another aspect of them as individuals, ie. what they do when we are not watching. We see in our boys many of the qualities that Mr Petrie referred to in his talk. The desire to improve, the desire to make the gains in and out of the classroom, the desire to work hard. There are times when we need to help them along that journey and support them in their learning. There are many times when they make significant progress or big jumps in their ability and their learning when they put in some extra effort that is not seen because it is done when no one is looking. It says a great deal about our young men at school. Their willingness to contribute, their willingness to make an effort and that hard work helps them make the progress they want to achieve.

Recently in our school, we have seen a number of our boys demonstrate high levels of success in a range of competitions. In a recent ICAS Writing competition, we saw eight of our boys earn Credits, five were awarded Distinctions and Alexander Fine achieved a High Distinction (99 percentile of all students competing).

Mr John Stewart
Head of Junior School