Dear Parents and Caregivers,
Yesterday, I caught the end of a discussion on radio about the state of mind of some our young people, particularly regarding violence. Stories of gate crashers at a party, fighting at a sporting event, shocking behaviour on public transport and other disturbing tales were recounted. Young people behaving badly. Discussion then followed about what is wrong with young people today, with various members of the public offering their opinions. One caller, with great frustration, asked the question, “What are schools doing to teach students about good behaviour?”
My immediate thought was to think, “Why is it always the schools’ and teachers’ responsibility to solve the problems of society?” There are so many other factors at play. Parents and family circumstances are critical in the formation of any child. However, we also know that the school is significant in a young person’s personal development and that we do more than teach subjects and cover the curriculum. Indeed, it is the quality of the partnership between home and school that has, I think, the greatest influence on a young person. Together, we take on the responsibility of moulding character and shaping values and attitudes of our young people as they move to adults. Modelling is so important; our children learn from what they see and watch, how we treat other, either in person or by what we write or post.
At School, students are given very clear expectations about their behaviour and these are reinforced in many ways. First and foremost, they know they are in a Catholic school, built on the ethos of Edmund Rice. The Touchstones set the tone of our College, reinforcing values such as Dignity and Endeavour, Compassion and Respect. These are qualities we hope our students will embrace and take with them into adulthood.
As in so many aspects of their education, students watch and learn. The life lessons that happen are incidental and many, often undocumented and sometimes unnoticed, but nonetheless significant. On the oval, I witnessed a Rugby Coach encourage his team to persist in the face of good opposition. He continued to urge them on, to play out the game with a spirit of endeavour and competition. His efforts were rewarded with a place in the Grand Final. There are many positives that our children can learn and normally they copy what we do, so it is important that they are exposed to positive role models.
We offer our congratulations to Ms Tania Gallen who has been appointed Deputy Principal of St Joseph’s College.
This week’s reflection: Garrison Keillor
“Children are our most endangered species, nothing you do for a child is ever wasted.”