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‘Be Kind’ – a note from our Assistant Principal Student Wellbeing

February 19, 2021

Dear SFX families,

At the College assembly last week, we announced a change of our College expectations to the students.

Previously, we have summarised our College expectations as:

  • Be respectful.
  • Be responsible.
  • Be safe.

This has worked well for us for some years, but there has also been a sentiment among some staff (myself included) that ‘Be safe’ is a somewhat flawed sentiment.

It is reasonable to ask, “what is wrong with asking the students to be safe?” however, much of what we wish for the students in our care is that they do not take ‘safe’ options, rather, they take risks and take themselves out of their comfort zones. As I explained to the students at the assembly, these risks might involve sitting with new people in class or at lunch; reading an author or genre they have not tried previously; choosing an elective that none of their friends are doing, but which interests them – all of which are not necessarily ‘safe’ actions but can lead to many positive outcomes including meeting new people, having interesting experiences and expanding their horizons.

Most of what we ask students to do under the banner of ‘Being safe’ can easily be addressed in our other rules of ‘Being respectful’ and ‘Being responsible’.

So, what else do we expect of our students? What else might we ask of them if we are no longer explicitly asking them to focus on ‘being safe’?

If we think of what we really want to instil in the young people in our care, it is kindness. We are asking our students to ‘Be kind’.

The addition of ‘Be kind’ to our school expectations complements another initiative – the positive education principles – that we have been rolling out with students and staff in the last year or so. This initiative will become more visible in the future. Put simply, positive education places an emphasis on having a growth mindset (taking risks, being curious, learning from failure), and along with kindness, these are all important principles we seek to teach our students.

As I said to our students last week, the great thing is that kindness costs nothing! And so many of our students are already being kind on a daily basis! I also challenged the students to look for opportunities to be kind – perhaps families could discuss examples of those opportunities. Reinforcing messages at home that are delivered at school always provides the best chance of success.

As always, I would love to hear any feedback.

Martin Mullin
Assistant Principal Student Wellbeing


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