From time to time we all reflect on the people outside our family who played an influential role in our childhood. There may only be a handful of people who touched our lives at critical moments to support our weighty decisions, to help us in tough times or simply to provide a few words of inspiration. This type of support is something I like to call it the Ten-Second rule, because it reminds us that it often only takes a few words of encouragement to keep things on track or even transform the lives of young people. In reality, it doesn’t take much for adults to provide those informal moments of support and it sits nicely with the idea that it takes a village to raise a child.
Teachers by nature have good instincts for these opportunities, and I like to think that Saint Kentigern is overflowing with educators who thrive on mentoring, guiding and shaping the wellbeing of students at all ages. It’s a part of our holistic approach and central to our Christian mission to nurture the spirit, self-belief and character of every child.
We owe much to our past. There are many people in our 69-year history who dedicated their careers to building our educational culture. Many of our Old Collegians will remember Peter Hadfield, one of the many people who has impacted the lives of many students through quiet and thoughtful encouragement, which I also experienced first hand. He worked at the College for more than 40 years (an elite club) as a science and mathematics teacher, he still lives locally, and he continues to help with relief teaching. A humble and caring man, he always made time to make sure everybody in his sports teams and classes were supported with honest feedback and positivity. He recently told me that “great schools have strong and unique cultures through tradition, loyalty, respect, relationships, trust and a sense of belonging. Saint Kentigern encompasses all of these and more.”
With that heritage, we’re lucky today that Saint Kentigern continues to attract teachers who have the same philosophy and heart for children, and who are not operating with a deficit-oriented approach. The anxiety and mental health of young people, the current and future effects of Covid, and the unknown future of industries, are all issues that highlight the complexity of our times. Over the past generation, the norms have shifted in so many respects and the traditional pathways toward a career are clearly more complicated for our senior students.
The approaches of schools will continue to evolve around the fringes, and teachers, or any other adults, will continue to have different types of connections with our youth than in the past. In this context, the parent-teacher partnership has become even more critical in building a shared understanding of every child’s strengths and opportunities. We are blessed to have a community of families so committed to education and working together on these challenges in such a positive way.
Wishing you all a great Term 2.
Fides Servanda Est
Dr Kevin Morris