02 Nov 2018

Finishing the Year Strong

As ever, one of our main themes for the final term in Year 5 is to finish the year strong, right up until the very last day. It has been a genuine pleasure to teach this group of Year 5 boys as they have grown as both young men and learners throughout the course of the year. It was only twelve months ago that we welcomed thirty-two new boys into the grade, and to Newington, when they came for orientation, and it is great to reflect on the progress that each and every one of our boys has made this year. I am excited for next year’s Year 6 teachers, particularly for the Exhibition, as we have had a very engaged group of learners this year.

As I have begun to write reports and think back on the year as a whole, I have started to reflect on our approach this year. On a trip to the Gold Coast earlier this year for an education conference, I started chatting to a fellow delegate, Brendan McKerchar. A former professional rugby player from Scotland, I found out that he was the Sports Master at Harrow in the UK. He was running one of the many workshops offered at the conference, and his was on the Harrow student leadership model. Engaged by our initial conversation and wanting to find out more, I went along to his workshop. For me, the biggest take away was the ten-point doctrine that they follow at Harrow, that appeals to me as much as a teacher as a parent. We unconsciously do most of these things in our day to day lives with our students, and indeed our own children, and taking a similar approach in Year 5 this year has really benefited the boys.

The ten points are as follows:

  •     Model emotional intelligence
  •     Do not obsess over achievement
  •     Do not over praise, and praise work ethic rather than intelligence
  •     Let children experience risks and as a consequence, failure
  •     Say no, don’t overindulge children
  •     Challenge children to problem solve, particularly with social issues
  •     Show that you are human and as an adult, can be vulnerable too
  •     Never stop being encouraging
  •     Talk about leadership, recognise the individuals but also the value of the group
  •     Walk your talk, and commit to the above

Our Year 5 boys have a busy term ahead of them and they will be actively involved in a lot of projects, both as a grade and individually or in small groups. We have the exciting inaugural International Market to look forward to, a further respectful relationships collaboration with both St. Catherine’s and the International Grammar School, a musical collaboration with the girls from Roseville College, a gala day at Cromehurst and next year’s school leaders to consider, amongst many other things. The boys’ engagement this year has been excellent and we intend to keep it going until the very end of term.

By Week 8, we will be able to reflect on our IB PYP Learner Profile attributes – knowledgeable, balanced, risk-takers, caring, principled, inquirers, reflective, thinkers, communicators and open-minded – and know that the boys have made great strides in their growth after a successful 2018. I am very much looking forward to sharing in the boys’ success at the end of the year.

Sam Watson – Year 5 Teacher


26 Northcote Road
Lindfield NSW 2070
+61 2 9416 4280


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