Posted on September 3, 2019 / From the Principal
This week we have a special guest introduction from Brett Trollope, Head of Boys’ Middle School.
Growing Good Men
Many parents are scared, if not at the very least nervous, about the onset of puberty for what is currently a delightful, caring and sensitive boy. We all know puberty can cause huge changes in our young men: physically, cognitively, emotionally, socially and hormonally. The increase in the level of testosterone (up to 800% increase from when they were toddlers) is a factor that makes this most definitely a time to be wary as it brings with it incredible energy and transformation for our boys. One of the biggest issues boys face with this time, is that these changes are happening at once, causing them a great deal of stress and uncertainty, not to mention other issues such as awkwardness, smelliness and hunger!
Parenting boys of this age can be extremely challenging, hence the importance of partnering with others to help guide your growing boy into what we all hope is a young man of good character who sets out to make a positive difference in our world. Along with family and other organisations such as sporting clubs, scout groups, etc., schools play a huge role in partnering with parents in the quest to create these quality young men. At Tintern, the transition into our Middle School is the beginning of a fantastic shared journey between family and school, where the importance of academic success is recognised, along with the mentoring and guidance that is required to help direct our boys during this adolescent phase of their lives.
Upon starting at school, our boys are involved in a mentoring program titled ‘Big Brother’ where current senior boys meet with a small group of Year 7s fortnightly for the first half of the year to discuss a myriad of different topics: starting at a new school, going on camp, making friends and doing homework, plus lots more. It is a great way for our Year 7 boys to find connection with older students and to ask questions of someone who is not that long out of their current position.
We have partnered with a number of organisations to help facilitate the journey through Years 7–9 including The Man Cave and SALT (Sport and Life Training). These programs begin in Year 7 and are aimed at helping boys understand their role in society, what it means to be a man, the celebration of manliness, understanding positive masculinity (and toxic masculinity). These programs tie in with The Resilience Project, which runs across the Secondary School and aims to help improve the mental health and emotional intelligence of our young people.
As our boys move into Year 8 the focus on mental health continues, along with the development of leadership skills. These skills focus on leading self and leading others through a variety of programs from our Billy Cart Race Day to the Smoothie Bar where small groups develop their sales skills by pitching a particular smoothie to an audience of parents and community members.
By Year 9 our boys are the leaders of the Middle School and are preparing for their transition into Senior College. The focus continues to be on mental health and resilience, as well as the development of skills associated with life. Our boys develop their financial literacy skills, discuss topics of healthy relationships and sexual education, learn practical skills such as ironing, washing, changing car tyres, using lawnmowers and chainsaws, making coffee, plus much more. To finish Year 9, we have a father/son (other adult role model) night at our farm where discussions around being a man, the challenges of life, expectations, etc. are discussed in an open and supportive environment. This marks a rite of passage for them from the Middle Years into our Senior College.
There are many attributes and characteristics of what makes a “good man”: loyalty, humour, honesty – the list is endless. The Boys’ Middle School is a place where our boys are not only challenged academically in order to prepare them for Senior College, but a place where our boys are encouraged to:
- Have the strength to show their emotions
- Have the courage to know and be who they are
- Be confident in themselves
- Recognise opportunities to help others
- Show a sense of gratitude
- Be compassionate toward others
Raising good men isn’t easy – that’s why it’s best done as a team. Our boys are on their way to becoming “great men” who will contribute much to the world that awaits them. This journey through adolescence is an incredibly exciting and adventurous one that we need to celebrate at every opportunity.