Message from the Principal

Welcome to week nine of Term One. With everything that has been happening around the College I hope that everyone in the community has enough energy in store for the remaining two weeks and that you are looking forward to finishing the term as positively as you started it. I have no doubt that these two weeks will remain very busy as there is still much to achieve before we take a break. In the past week there have been a number of activities taking place adding to the breadth of education our students are offered here at Salesian College Chadstone. This has included the senior cricket where the boys have made their first final in ten years. We wish them every success in the match against De la Salle on Wednesday. We also had a bus load of musicians head off on their annual music camp on Sunday morning and we wish them all the best and thank them for the continued support for the music program. These activities take staff and students away from their classes and in some cases away from their families. We wish to thank them all for their commitment in undertaking these activities and ensuring the educational experience our students receive is diverse and of the highest quality. Over the past week a number of staff have had the pleasure of interviewing the boys and their families who will join us next year. This job is always a positive undertaking as we get to meet some wonderful young men who will bring their own gifts and talents to continue the story of Salesian College. The numbers of applications are up on this time last year; which is great news for the College. I would like to thank Mrs Mary Menz for all the work she does in welcoming the boys and families into our community especially at this time when it can be quite stressful for them. Also, I thank all the staff who have given up their time either on Saturday morning or one of the evenings this week to undertake this vital task – it is very much appreciated.

St Patrick’s Day Dinner

Last Thursday evening I had the pleasure of attending the annual Bishop’s St Patrick’s Day dinner at the Hyatt. It was a wonderful gathering with over 400 members of the wider Catholic community in attendance. We were blessed with the presence of past and present staff form the archdiocese of Melbourne, politicians, business people, staff from primary and secondary schools and members of the local parishes, it was a true gathering of community.

Parent Teacher Interviews

I wish to thank all the parents who were able to take time out of their busy schedules to join our teachers and celebrate the work of their sons and to look at ways of improving their learning. I would also like to thank our staff who made themselves available outside their normal working times to provide valuable feedback for their students. I hope all boys are able to take something from the feedback they received to improve on their results. As we reflect on how we can improve our performance and prepare ourselves for further achievements.

Learning All The Time

Here at Salesian College Chadstone we promote learning as a life time pursuit and we challenge our students to engage in this philosophy. It is important that we all understand that we continue to learn new things every day and we should celebrate our learning. All learning is exciting and we never know where new learning will lead us.

One way of Learning

One of the best ways we learn is through constructive criticism and how we take this criticism can determine how well we learn. The man who completed the Panama Canal handled criticism very well. During the construction he had terrible problems with geography, climate, accidents and disease-carrying mosquitoes. As with all mammoth projects, he had his critics who constantly disparaged what he was doing and predicted that he would never complete the project. However, he stuck to the task and said nothing. One day a friend asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer the critics?”  “Yes,” he responded. “How?” he was asked. “With the completed Canal,” he replied.

Improving or getting things right or doing well is always the most effective way of learning and proving your critics wrong.

One may ask should I listen or respond to a critic and the best way to answer is to ask another question and that is: “What interest does this critic have in me?”

A parent, teacher, employer or coach has a vested interest in what you achieve or how you perform.  They want you to do your best and achieve your potential. Unfortunately, sometimes they don’t know how to give suggestions that can help you improve your performance. Mary Kay, a successful businesswoman, said, “Sandwich every bit of criticism between two layers of praise.”

The key is to criticise the performance and not the performer.  One successful man’s mother once criticised his performance by saying, “For most boys this would be all right. But you’re not most boys–you’re my son and my son can do better than that.”

She had “criticised the performance,” because it needed improvement, but she had praised the performer because he needed the praise.

You are your own best critic. You know when you are falling short of what you are capable of. You know when what may be all right for someone else isn’t good enough for you. How can I learn or improve?

Strategies for improving or learning

  • Find a friend and set some goals. Set your goals together and cheer each other on when the going gets tough. Meet regularly to review your goals and progress. Help each other keep focused. • Write down what you want to do and what you have to do to get there. Keep the piece of paper where you can look at it often to remind yourself.
  • Face your fears. Failing because you haven’t tried is the guaranteed way to lower your self-esteem. You earn self-respect when you give things your best shot – and you motivate yourself to do better next time.
  • Take it one step at a time. Each day is the chance to get it right, so don’t worry about yesterday; focus on what you can do now to get where you want to be.
  • Practise. Experts do the same thing over and over again, striving to do it better each time. Ignoring your maths until the night before the test won’t get you far but doing some maths every night will show surprising results. • Reward yourself. Your best life is just waiting for you to achieve it. Give yourself the rewards you owe yourself.

Robert Brennan