Senior School Report

March 4, 2021

by Director of the Senior School, Mr Hamish McCrum

The 2021 Head of the Lake did not go the way we or our First Crew would have liked.  Grammar were better than us, congratulations to them and commiserations to us.  Competitive sport has the capacity to burst our bubbles and cause us some short-term pain.  When four or five crews go out on the lake to race, only one of them is going to experience the elation that comes with winning.  The rest get what is often described as a character-building experience.  This term exists for a reason.  In life we are all going to have to cope with far bigger disappointments and loss than a school sporting event.  We will at times feel we have no control over the loss and will only be able to control the manner in which we conduct ourselves as we respond.  At these times our true character is revealed, hopefully reflecting significant growth and development to that point in time.  Congratulations to all the rowers and coaches, whether they won or lost, for your efforts and training over the season.  I am confident you will all look back with fond memories of the camaraderie in the boatshed and pride with the levels of fitness you reached through your training.  Well done.

I have asked all of the students in the Senior School to prepare and adhere as best they can to a homework planner, and have asked for some parental support with this.  After two weeks it is time to evaluate how this is going and make adjustments if necessary.

Some reading that I have completed recently outlined some things that parents can do to improve their son’s performance at school.  These included:

  • Having high (and realistic) expectations of your son’s efforts and performance
  • Talking with him about how school is going
  • Talking with him about non-school stuff
  • Ask open-ended questions (good luck with teenage boys)
  • Praising his efforts, not abilities (fosters a growth mindset)
  • Help him see setbacks as learning opportunities
  • Having clear rules around homework, including amount of time and whereabouts of his phone (not necessarily having tight supervision of homework, though for some boys a location that allows for passive supervision is a good idea)
  • Eating dinner together at the table
  • Encouraging good sleeping habits: phones out of room, at least 8 hours/night, regular time for getting up and going to bed. Good sleeping patterns increases our ability to learn, remember and cope with stress
  • Encourage his reading and let him see you reading for pleasure (scrolling through our phones does not count)

Next week we will be holding parent/teacher/student interviews.  I encourage you all to come, be that to affirm your son’s efforts or be it in the hope of improving his current trajectory.  Your son should be in attendance.  Conversations about his education and future need to involve him.