13 August 2018

Let me start this edition of the Thistle by wishing all of the mothers in the Scotch community a very happy Mother's Day for this coming Sunday 13 May; including parents, grandparents and of course our female staff. Any man worth a grain of salt is well aware of just how important mums are, and, the crucial role they play in our formation while growing up and then continuing to support us as adults. Barton Goldsmith, a columnist, lists 10 reasons why mums are so special, although some of these tasks are not just restricted to mums.

  1. If it weren't for your mum, you wouldn't be breathing right now. If nothing else, you should thank her for that.
  2. Mothers are the emotional backbones of the family. They provide the holding place for everyone's feelings and do their best to keep us from being hurt.
  3. Mothers have the magic touch (and kiss) to help us heal our wounds, physical and emotional.
  4. Truly, our mothers worked hard and made sacrifices, so our lives would be better. There are not a lot of people willing to do that, so let her know you appreciate it.
  5. Mothers are forgiving so forgive her in return. Perhaps nothing will be as valuable a gift to both of you as forgiveness. Open your heart and drop your resentments. Now that's love.
  6. When you want to climb the tallest mountain, your mother will make your lunch for you. She is the one who will support your dreams when no one else will. She will also remind you to wear clean underwear.
  7. Her boundaries made you a better person. You may not have liked some of her decisions, but she does try and keep you out of trouble.
  8. A mother's ears and eyes hear and see everything. They also have a computer-like memory for all the good (and some of the bad) that came your way. It's nice to have someone with whom you can reminisce about your life.
  9. Mum taught you to be a functioning adult. That was her job, and without that, making it through the modern world would be very hard. Your mum may have forced you to do your homework, but now you see how important it was.
  10. A mother's smile, when it is directed toward you, makes your day a whole lot better. All she needs is to know that she has helped you to be and feel your best.

It is also important that we remember that some of our boys and others in our community, may have lost their mums way too early; unfortunately, this is one of the challenges that life puts in front of us. Just remember our memories are no less meaningful. While my own mum passed away 18 years ago this week, there is not a day that goes by where my family and I are not reminded about her and how much she contributed to our lives. So, remember to give thanks to your mum, in person or in prayer, not just on Mother's Day, but on each and every day of the year. Never take your mum for granted.

Last year I made reference to an up and coming review from a panel chaired by David Gonski AC. In the last week many of the community may have either read or heard press items about the recently released 'Through Growth to Achievement' report. As with all of these types of reports there will be many discussions and debates regarding the recommendations and implementation. What I can say is that as a College we are already doing many of the recommended initiatives. If anyone is interested in reading the full report it can be accessed here.

In particular, the report referenced doing more with what in the National Curriculum calls 'General Capabilities'. At Scotch College, as a result of one on one interviews we conducted with many of our boys three years ago, we commenced a project where we are reporting on the 'Approaches to Learning (ATLs)' for each boy. While an International Baccalaureate construct, the ATLs are essentially similar to general capabilities.

In summary the report listed three key priorities

  1. Deliver at least one year's growth in learning for every student every year;
  2. Equip each child to be creative, connected and engaged learner in a rapidly changing world; and
  3. Cultivate an adaptive, innovative and continuously improving education system.

While these are very broad statements, I am confident that our teaching and learning strategy, coupled with our focus on wellbeing, will ensure that Scotch College not just meets, but will lead in education for many years to come.

Have a great fortnight.

Dr Alec O'Connell
Headmaster