Last weekend, I was fortunate enough to host the SEISA Year 12 leadership retreat at Raymond Island. This was a new initiative for SEISA schools, designed to bring together the Year 12 student leaders for 2016 in a fun and informative environment where they could explore their roles and responsibilities as a leader. Over 70 students from St Pauls, Beaconhills, Newhaven and Gippsland Grammar came together for the two day event.
Leadership activities and games were facilitated throughout the weekend by Chris Beckman. Chris is a leadership expert from the National Australia Bank who led the students through a journey of understanding, as they explored the concepts of communication, behaviour profiling, forming functional teams and turning ideas into actions. Chris is an amazing facilitator who managed to bring the weekend to life with his enthusiasm and knowledge.
As part of the weekend we were able to have some fun as Darren McCubbin presented a murder mystery, ‘Greased.’ This was a fantastic activity for the Saturday night, as all staff and students dressed up in their favourite 50s Grease gear and managed to solve the mystery of the gang murder. It was a very funny evening and some very good acting managed to bring the crime to life.
Our weekend away finished with a beautiful chapel service overlooking the lakes from the Abbey at Raymond Island.
This was a great weekend and it was very reassuring to spend time with some brilliant students from all five schools. The students created friendships and developed plans for the year ahead and I am looking forward to this event strengthening the bonds between the SEISA schools and also supporting students from all schools as they embark on the leadership journey for 2016.
This week has been full of excitement and anticipation as new students attended our school for the first time. Many new students joined the school as part of the Garnsey rollover and 107 students and their parents attended the Year 7 orientation on Tuesday and throughout the week. Both St Anne’s and Bairnsdale hosted new students at special fellowships today. December is usually a time when schools can become tired and a little ineffective; however, this week our school was filled with excitement, enthusiasm and highly motivated students who were eager to begin the New Year. I would like to thank staff and students at all three campuses for ensuring that new students to the school were made to feel welcome.
I had the opportunity to speak with our new Year 7 parents on Monday at the beginning of Orientation week. I shared with them my top ten tips for parenting teenagers. These are not fool proof and they don’t always work; however, they can be a starting point for maintaining positive relationships with your children.
- Never be scared to say no. if you don’t like something your child is proposing, dig in and say no. Weather the storm and remember, when they say, all the other parents are letting their kids go. They probably aren’t and they probably feel the same way you do.
- Your child will always have work to do- even though they may not have homework- studying and reading can always be done- check their diary if in doubt, send an email to your Mentor if in doubt.
- You can always help them with their homework and try to keep this going for as long as possible. If you don’t feel comfortable with the content they are learning, then learn it with them and demonstrate that you have a growth mindset and you are a lifelong learner.
- Help them to be resilient- add ‘yet’ to the end of their sentences- I can’t do this-yet. Remember that you can’t learn unless you make mistakes and have to grapple with your work. Not understanding something is a normal part of the learning process and they need to develop skills to work through difficulties.
- Try to help them solve problems involving friends. They all experience friendship problems at some stage and as adults we are all dopamine addicts and wish to solve their problems for them. Support them, coach them, listen to them and encourage them to find solutions. Let the School know and we will keep an eye on them.
- Stay connected- when they don’t communicate you have to look for ways to encourage communication and discussion- the best solution is long drives in the country with your child in the front seat, without headphones.
- Set your own rules with regard to technology- no internet in your rooms, technology free time, no phones when we go out for dinner.
- Try to have as many family dinners as possible, set the table, sit down together and have a discussion. Turn off the TV.
- Play games. Board games are great fun, until dad cheats at Scrabble!
- Love your children no matter what.