Boarding Report – July 16, 2015

July 15, 2015

Managing expectation -“ last year I was fortunate to attend a Professional Development session on -‘Managing Expectations’. As our boarding cohort returns for arguably the busiest of our College terms I felt it prudent to share what I had gleaned from this PD in the hope that it provides guidance to all. Whether your son is in Year 8 or in the midst of his final moments at the College in Year 12 it is essential that expectations are managed. It may be your expectations that your son is attempting to satisfy or, more likely, their own, but in either case I hope that the following reflection assists you and your son throughout the coming weeks.

Firstly I would recommend that a conversation takes place -“ and certainly from our perspective I have encouraged our boarders to engage in meaningful dialogue with their respective house staff -“ to ensure that expectations are known. Expectation is a powerful tool -“ it serves to create great emotion that can be critical to accomplishment in all the different myriad of ways life has to offer. For all of our boarders they will ask questions of themselves to the effect of: -What do I expect of myself?-, -What do my parents expect of me?-, -What do my friends expect of me?- and -What does the College expect of me?-. When we fail to manage expectations of any relationship there will be upset. I would suggest that anger and frustration are red flags for the very likelihood that expectation has not been met. To cope with the weight of expectation I believe it is critical to set achievable goals -“ not to lessen our expectations but to allow accomplishment that can restore energy and sense of worth. Ultimately managing expectations is about eliminating the gap between what we expect and what happens. This is prevalent in both our boys’ College and personal lives.

As this term unfolds our boarders will be challenged by their expectations and the expectations of others. It is important for them to take time to reflect on what they achieve each day, set attainable goals for the days ahead and also manage their time to afford them moments of relaxation. Conversations I have had with our boarders since their return have told of many wonderful occasions with friends and family over the holiday -“ exactly what this time is for -“ but pleasingly many also spoke of time spent studying and preparing for this coming term. I would like to particularly congratulate those whose sporting endeavours for their State/s in their specific sport were recognised on a national stage. This is an accomplishment worthy of much praise from us all.

I was fortunate to travel to South Africa over this past holiday. I had been invited to join a 10 man -‘Inspection Team’ as one of four Directors of Boarding from Australian schools. The purpose of the trip was to ascertain the suitability and safety of potential school tours to South Africa. I was -‘in country’ for just seven days but left with a real sense of privilege to have been afforded the opportunity to travel to such a diverse country. From a safari/game reserve that put us within touching distance of the -‘Big 5’, to a harrowing afternoon at the Apartheid Museum. We were taken around the -‘elite’ schools of Johannesburg and Cape Town and were humbled by the beauty of the children in a township primary school on the outskirts of Cape Town. We trekked up Table Mountain and were put through our paces at the South African High Performance Centre where the South African Women’s Cricket Team were in camp. It was a constant whirlwind, jumping from one incredible experience to the next but, without question, the highlight, for want of a better word, was to Robben Island where we were treated to testimony from political prisoners who shared this prison with the great Nelson Mandela during his 27year incarceration. I feared that discussions of Mandela would be considered almost clichéd by South Africans but this was not the case -“ for wherever we travelled the -‘Rainbow Nation’ celebrated the triumphs of -‘Madiba’. That said as I made the journey back to Australia and had time to reflect on the previous week these following words of Mandela remained etched in my memory and I share them with you now for I believe they can help guide our boarders as they live their lives:

-It always seems impossible until it’s done-. and

-Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world-.

In a couple of weeks we invite you all to join us as we celebrate the diversity of our boarding community as we recognise the -‘international flavour’ to our cohort. Information has already gone out via email but please follow this link to join our major Term (3) boarding community occasion.

Look after yourselves.

Mike Silcock