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Message from the Headmaster – June 2024

Dear Parents/Guardians,

We have passed the halfway mark of Term 2 and the Term 2 Examination Series is just over three weeks away. There is a lot to achieve throughout the month of June and we look forward to helping your sons reach their potential across a variety of contexts.

Following our basic expectations at this time of the term will positively influence the success your sons can experience. These expectations include:

  • Being present

Before anything can be achieved students need to be on time, ready to focus in each of our 40-minute lessons.  The value of strong regular attendance rates should not be underestimated. 

You will appreciate why we emphasise and re-emphasise how important being present is, and why we monitor attendance in the manner we do.   It is no secret that there is a direct correlation between attendance and engagement levels, then the level of success students can experience.

  • Being committed

Students who are committed to their learning and are prepared to hone the skills required to work independently without excuse – in the classroom, with homework and study.

Committed students avoid a fixed mindset when learning gets difficult.  This is the mode where students make excuses for themselves including assessing they are not bright enough to learn, so give up.  Instead, committed students have a growth mindset, reminding themselves that conquering a difficult task will require questioning and repeated practice. Rather than an attitude of “I can’t do this”, theirs is one of, “I can’t do this – yet.”

  • Being a standard setter

Students who reflect School standards through their attitude and demeanour. This begins with an outward expression of respect and pride in their School, through the way they wear their uniform and how their grooming is maintained.  

It continues with their words and actions, where students meet or exceed what we describe as ‘above the line’ behaviours. These include: 

  • How they show up – accountable, empowered and comfortable being uncomfortable. 
  • What they say and do – accepting personal responsibility and focusing on making things right
  • What they achieve – making progress and getting better
  • Being involved outside the classroom   

Students who are committed to the extracurricular life of the School. They meet their practice, match and performance obligations. These students have the opportunity to develop positive relationships with teachers and their peers in a different context to a classroom. They also learn about competition in a different context and how to win with humility and lose with dignity.

Students not involved with extracurricular activities will not get the best out of Auckland Grammar School.

In recent assemblies, all of these points have been raised with your sons as we ask them how they will respond to the challenges they face, and how they will support our unwritten code of conduct, that starts with being of good character. In true Grammar fashion, your sons should know that the word ‘character’ comes from Ancient Greek, meaning the mark left on a coin during manufacture. Today though, character is the mark left on us from life, and the mark we leave on life. 

We look forward to supporting your sons throughout the remainder of this term as they develop their character.  In our environment they have every opportunity to grow their character daily as they work to meet or exceed our expectations of them.

Thank you for your continued support.

Tim O’Connor