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“If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.”


– 1 Corinthians 15:19

In the last three weeks I’ve met with 210 of 280 Year 7 and Year 12 students. By early next term, I will have met with all of them. While time consuming, it is such a delight to hear from students face to face. It helps me to get to know students and to get a sense of what’s on their minds. Perhaps my favourite part has been the overwhelming student sentiment about their teachers, such that when Year 7 have been asked about what’s different, they speak about the teachers, and when Year 12 are asked how we can help them, the overwhelming response is that the teachers are doing a great job supporting students and their learning as it is. It has been a delight to hear how readily our students appreciate their teachers.

Common questions for Year 7 and Year 12: What do you want from this year? What will be your biggest struggle? How can we help you? How will you know when you have been successful? What will success look like? What’s your best or favourite subject? What’s your most challenging subject? What else would you like me to know? What would you like to ask?

Additional questions for Year 7: When did you start at NBCS? Where were you at school before that? What’s different? Tell me something about you that I don’t already know. What’s your favourite food? What have you enjoyed so far? What has been hard? What do you want to get from school in the next six years?

An additional question for Year 12: What would you say about changes you have noticed over the past few years?


A sample of Year 7 answers

What’s different?

Bigger; better; more support; more advanced; better teachers; better explanations; more modern; feels more deliberate; nicer I guess; better in a different way; teachers are much nicer; teachers help you if you get it wrong; teachers teach differently; better teachers here; Christian school; more friends here; more open; education here is more advanced; really like the facilities.

What do you want from this year?

Friends; new friends; learning strategies; learn more than I know now; enjoy it; be able to understand my academic interests; learn to be organised; to become smarter; do as well as I can; good results; new opportunities; get the most out of it; get better at basketball; get better at Maths and English; know a bit more; learn more stuff that I can take with me; improve; try hard; build on my learning; avoid academic catch up; get good grades; work hard to get good grades.

What have you enjoyed so far?

The library; making new friends; hanging out with friends; study at lunch; being at a new school; moving around; mixing with different people; the freedom and responsibility of going to classes; food’s great; Sport; having friends; way more freedom; more independence; different spaces; learning and friends; everything; PDHPE practical lessons; a variety of teachers; I kind of like the work; making new friends; being independent; learning; different classes; more to learn; the swimming carnival.

How can we help you?

I have anxiety; help me if I get stuck or confused; teachers should remember that they are not the only one giving homework; less homework; keep me focused; take a bit of the workload off; help me with understanding; I need a bit more depth; support re learning, help re effort; I’m pushed in the right way; it’s pretty good. I don’t need help; all good for now.

What has been hard?

At the start I was confused and nervous; a lot of homework, it seems more reasonable now; homework, so much; hard not knowing people to start with; balancing the requirements of different subjects; I don’t get poetry; getting to the canteen early enough at lunch; travel, I leave home at 7:00 and get home at 4:30; getting used to new things; a bit overwhelming at first; Science homework is a bit full-on; getting on top of my work; getting work in on time; work is a lot harder, so is getting around the school; carrying all the books around; finding time to do assessments when there is homework.


A sample of Year 12 answers

What do you want from this year?

Become my own person; leave with a good group of friends; feel proud of myself; achieve my goals; good ATAR; balance; enjoy my last year at school; get through it; I’m figuring it out at the moment; doing my best; really learn and take that away into life; do my best, regardless of the outcome, but hoping for a positive one; just have fun, I really enjoy school, I’m sad cause it’s coming to an end; to pass, anything above that is a bonus; academics is my main focus; be happy with the effort and the result; get into the desired Uni course; HSC done, finished and useful to have; learning about myself and how I work and noticing a change in self; leave with a good set up; feel confident in leaving school.

How can we help you?

Teachers help pretty well; teachers are accepting, help me through it, keep me on the right track; keeping things going; keeping us balanced; teachers are so good now, in English especially; teachers are really helpful; it’s already a supportive environment for learning; teachers are good, I’m happy as is; I need to keep being supported to do it for myself; teachers are supporting me really well throughout; teachers are educated and passionate about what they teach and it pays off in the classroom, now it’s up to me; there’s pretty good support, with lunchtime and after school sessions; there’s always someone to go to, all the resources are already there; I didn’t go to Freshie because I didn’t want to have to rebuild relationships with teachers when the support was already here; it would be good to be specific about what is due when; give us assessment notifications earlier 4-6 weeks, not 2 weeks, it helps us to get organised and manage our time;  teachers want to help, we just have to do it; try to balance the workload and keep it manageable; teachers need to understand we are balancing school and other commitments; we are being really supported as is; there are plenty of resources, I am taking in what I can and the onus is on me.

What changes have you noticed?

I can see improvement and growth in our learning; we are closer, more trusting and more aware of others; teachers push us harder but definitely give us more help; more academic; library, textiles room; more academic than it used to be, but both ways have worked for me; it’s good, probably more focused on students; I like that there is more emphasis on academics and helping students to reach their academic goals, I’ve changed too, I have needed to act the part; I really like the library; awareness of Christianity; teachers are really invested, English is way better; I’m not sure whether it is change or just getting older but it’s easier to reach out to teachers and have a normal conversation; I have felt a more academic approach, and tighter discipline; bringing in Chapel is a big change, I have felt supported; teachers are awesome, academic; teachers have lifted me, I have improved out of sight, especially in English; a lot more academic focused, which is a good thing; uniform changes, they are a small thing, but with a pretty big cultural difference, it has gotten everyone focused; I think it has been helpful, long term benefit even if short term annoying; move to Canvas from Learn really positive, will keep getting better; I like that teachers are clearly working towards a goal; the whole lifting of expectations.

Tim Watson