From the Head Master

From the Head Master

This week I spoke to the Middle and Senior School boys, reflecting on the relationship between motivation and discipline. My observation was that, when motivation is high, progressing towards our goals usually happens. We find that we can do what needs to be done, even if it is hard, because we really want whatever the goal happens to be. At the start of the year, most of us have high motivation and some sense of the goals we want to achieve. In the context of school, this may be academic improvement or progress, selection in a team or the achievements of a team, or any number of other goals.

However, the reality for all of us is that motivation ebbs and flows. There are times it is high, and times when it wanes. Motivation might lapse because of fatigue, or distraction, or apparent lack of progress, or a myriad of other things. It is natural and normal for our motivation to rise and fall.

When motivation is low, we need discipline to fill the gap. In this context, our disciplines are those habits and patterns that we embed into our normal practice that just keep carrying us along. If we can put these disciplines in place, they can carry us a long way when motivation lapses.

Examples could include:

  • The discipline of leaving your phone on the kitchen bench, rather than taking it with you, when you start your studying.
  • The discipline of a regular pattern and start time for homework.
  • The discipline of a standardised approach to revising and reviewing class material

Small practical habits, which become engrained in daily life, help us to move towards our goals. I left the boys with the observation that it makes sense to use their times of high motivation on establishing patterns and habits that will help them to persist at times when their motivation flags.

I am very pleased to note that the usual start-of-year challenges with reference to traffic at the Summer Hill campus are settling down. In part this is helped by more use of buses and active transport, whereby boys are walking the final few hundred metres, but it is also assisted by people adhering to our guidelines around staggering arrival and departure times by the ages of students. For the sake of clarity, the following schedule is in play.

  • Years K-2, ideally arrive between 8:30 and 8.45am and finish at 3.00pm ;
  • Years 3-4, ideally arrive between 8:15 and 8.30am and finish at 3.00pm;
  • Years 5-6, ideally arrive between 8:15 and 8.30am and finish at 3.15pm;
  • Years 7-9, ideally arrive by 8.15am for an 8:25 start and finish at 3.30pm; and
  • Years 10-12, ideally arrive by 8.15am for an 8:25 start and finish at 3.40pm.

Given the intensity of usage of the carpark and drop-off/pick-up zones, your adherence to the schedule is immensely helpful. The School has significantly increased the resourcing of traffic marshal arrangements in the car park at key times and we are confident that our system will work well if we have the co-operation of drivers. Please work with us in this mundane matter; it is for the benefit of all of us and also of our neighbours.

As previously indicated, I am providing an update with reference to the presence of COVID-19 within the School community. As of Thursday this week, thirty-three boys were away from School, isolating as household contacts. Eight boys in the Preparatory School are confirmed cases, as are two in the Junior School and forty-one in the Middle and Senior Schools. About a dozen staff are currently confirmed cases.

Overall, these numbers are better than we had expected would be the case by this point of the term, but they do represent a slight increase on last week. We continue to encourage families to ensure that the twice-weekly surveillance RAHT testing is done and to be vigilant in monitoring for symptoms. At this point the School is expecting to maintain its current range of COVID-smart practices into Week 4, although recent government announcements may presage some modifications in the near future.

Detur gloria soli deo

Tim Bowden | Head Master


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