I’ve just returned from 2 days at the Melbourne Convention Centre where the Boys & Education – National Conference was held this year. Leaving school is always challenging in our field with the school timetable not stopping, my own classes needing to be covered and adolescent boys still being adolescent boys! Having said this, the conference was really good and very reassuring.
The sessions I attended ranged from the psychology of teenage boys, differentiating for boys and understanding the transition from boyhood into manhood. I also had the opportunity to catch up with fellow teachers from other schools around Melbourne as well as meet new people from schools all around Australia. It’s during these conversations that you can often pick up great little ideas of activities, processes, etc. to consider implementing for our boys in order to help make their experience through the Middle Years successful.
As parents of adolescent boys I can categorically say that according to the experts this stage of life is the trickiest for them and therefore for you and school. The changes that they are going through is immense both physically and emotionally. One keynote speaker Dr Arne Rubinstein talked about the necessity of a Rite of Passage for boys and having key stages for them to move through; similar to our Junior School, to Middle School and then to Senior College. These stages allow for them to feel satisfaction and fulfilment as they pass through each stage.
Dr Rubinstein also went on to talk about the boys transitioning from boyhood into manhood and how in many cultures it is around this age in which they celebrate the coming of a man with rituals or ceremonies. In our society it is important that we help to educate our boys on what it means to shift from being a boy to becoming a man. One of the challenges we face is to ensure we are clear to our boys what a ‘man’ is and that they are not misled by the images that are portrayed by media around muscle, good looks, money and fancy cars. However, more to help them understand that a man understands he’s part of a greater community and that it is not just about him, that he takes full responsibility for his actions, understands his emotions and looks to ensure a better place for the family and friends that surround him.
The comforting thing for me is that a lot of this information is tied up within our pastoral program within the Boys’ Middle School; from the personal development in Year 7 and Leadership training in Year 8, to the ‘Becoming a Man’ program our Year 9 boys are about to begin. This program has been developing over the last few years but has the boys learning cooking and table etiquette, manners, ironing, coffee making, basic car maintenance and tyre changing, lawn mower care, bike maintenance, etc.
It was great to hear information over the two days that reassured me that our boys are provided with a fantastic environment and community, both here at school and especially at home. Boys will have the tendency to make a mistake or two along the way, but it is our responsibility to guide and nurture them into becoming excellent young men.
Yr 9 Future’s Day
On Monday 22nd August we held our Year 9 Future’s Day where we invited members from our community to come to school to talk to our Year 9 boys and girls around their chosen career and the pathways they took to get there.
The day started with a panel of 5 guests talking to all Year 9s about how the journey they have taken to get from High School to where they currently are. They spoke about the issues they faced at school trying to make decisions about the future, changing their mind when in university and then how opportunities present themselves through work including the opportunity to change direction completely sometimes. Following the panel our students then rotated through four sessions of choice from our 14 guests which included the fields of IT, engineering, police, nursing, education, sustainability, construction, business, entrepreneurialism and medicine. The feedback we received from students was absolutely brilliant regarding the ability to talk to other adults in small groups about areas of interest to them.
I would like to say a very big thank you once again to all of our guests who gave up their time on a Monday morning to come and present to our Year 9s. We are very thankful to have such a wonderful community.
On Friday 2nd September our Middle School boys were involved in our annual House Showdown where they are to perform a 3 – 4 minute dance routine guided by a particular theme. This year’s theme was ‘The Best You’ where they needed to somehow tie this into their performance.
The event ran over 3 weeks where the Year 9s are first briefed on the task followed by the 7s and 8s. With minimal rehearsal sessions the pressure is on the boys to rally together and put on a respectable performance. In the end the actual performance, although judged on timing, choreography, etc. was not what we are really looking for when running this activity. It actually takes a large amount of co-operation, teamwork and leadership skills of many boys to make it successful. It was fantastic to see not just the Year 9 leaders stepping up, but also many Year 7 and 8 boys as well who either possess skill in dancing or similar, or were able to show real leadership among their peers.
In the end it was Dann House, led ably by their captain Brock Hayden, who won this year’s event. Their performance was not just fantastically done, it also ensured all boys were heavily involved and their timing, the pace of some of the steps, was really good.
This event pushes almost every boy out of their comfort zone by putting them up on stage in front of their peers and having them dance. What it does do though is really provide a challenge to all of them whilst also providing the opportunity for a number of them to show their developing leadership skills.
Father Son Bowling
On Monday 5th September our boys helped continue the celebration of Fathers’ Day with our annual Father/Son (or significant male figure) bowling evening at Forest Hill AMF. It was a great night with over 65 people attending and a lot of fun that was had.
A big thank you to all the dads, uncles and/or significant male figures that were able to attend on the night as it is greatly appreciated, not just by us but by your boy as well. There were some impressive numbers in the bowling with the eventual winners being:
- Year 7: Rodney and Lachlan Bastin.
- Year 8: David and Jake Richardson.
- Year 9: Darcy and Shaun Pinder.
Special mention to Adrian Dalzotto who scored the highest individual score I have seen in the 5 or so years we have been running this event, a massive 184.