Plenary Articles

Balancing Work and Rest

Author: Mr Tyson Kenny - Deputy Principal

This week’s bible passage is an important reminder for us all, and perhaps particularly timely for students currently in the throes of completing end of term assessment.

My roots will reach to the water, and the dew will lie all night on my branches.

Job 29:19

Earlier this term I reflected upon and shared the importance of students working hard to ‘get the little things right’.  My focus was largely directed at students developing certain study habits and ensuring they complete school work not only in class, but most importantly, between classes through effective homework and study practices. This week’s bible verse also reminds us that between lessons, and perhaps towards the end of a busy term, students who have worked hard need to ensure they are also well rested.  I realise this is easier said than done, especially in the busyness of the assessment period many students are currently facing.   

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If you are currently a student working hard to achieve your best in your assessments, I remind you to plan for sufficient rest during this time.  Yes, I’m sure there may be a late night or two, studying hard to ensure that you are well prepared to complete an exam the next day; however, it’s important that the mind is also well rested, perhaps with a good night’s sleep and through healthy eating and hydration.

Just like an athlete preparing for a race or an upcoming competition, the most successful athletes, and I believe students, realise how important it is to get the balance right between working hard and rest.  Obviously, too much of one can throw this balance out of whack – with too much rest not sufficiently equipping the athlete or student to achieve their best, and too much training or study without enough rest causing one to under perform.  God encourages all of us to seek and enjoy rest.  Those that also find rest in Him are particularly blessed to experience His love, both in times of stress (i.e. late night’s studying hard) and in rest.

For families currently trying to support their student with achieving this balance, I encourage you to engage your student through regular conversation.  If they are struggling to achieve a sufficient study load outside of school, try and support them with developing certain routines that allow them enough time and opportunity to complete this work.  I know many parents engage with the Study Skills Handbook website, which the College subscribes to and communicates logon details through the Enews regularly.  Many parents/carers have commented how useful this website has been for supporting their student with developing important study habits at home.

For families of students who are currently struggling to achieve sufficient rest, make sure you speak with them about this.  In these discussions, try and determine what are the things that are stopping them from properly resting, and if it’s to do with a particular subject that’s proving challenging, encourage them to contact their teacher for support, rather than stressing at home and becoming too worked up about it.  I realise that there can be many other reasons students can struggle to achieve sufficient rest, such as having too many technology distractions, but I believe the key to finding the best balance for each student concerning their work habits and achieving sufficient rest, starts with dialogue between parents/carers and their student.

I wish every student success during this assessment period.  I also pray that you each experience much rest over the upcoming holidays, which allows you to be renewed and re-energised for the new school term and the many important learning opportunities it will bring.

Sustenance to Thrive

AUTHOR: Mrs Janelle Anderson - Principal

This week we reflect of the Bible verse from Ezekial 31:7,

It was strong and beautiful, with wide-spreading branches, for its roots went deep into abundant water.

After we finally received some rain we are very clear about what the benefits are to life giving waters. We have lost some long standing vegetation as the rain did not quite come soon enough for them. As a school we aim to always be able to supply enough sustenance for everyone to thrive. We have been analysing the sorts of strengths people had and have still to keep this community standing strong and reaching out with life giving actions and support both within and beyond our community.  In our student analysis for their challenge this week where everyone was to choose an image that depicted their personal strengths I am delighted that the image here from our bible verse is of a beautiful tree without stretched limbs (arms).

This school image for our Fruits of Faith and our 2019 Foundations image also depicts the tree. However, the 2019 theme is not one tree in isolation, but many. God represented as the central strong tree to guide us and each of the others represents us as followers and leaders in our own right. Being fed by the living waters. Our roots reaching far into the ground (our community) to gain every possibility of sustenance.

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I have a true affinity to the tree as it also represents our family name. The Anderson crest is a tree with the words- Stand Sure embedded. You can see in the images a standard crest with the Anderson tartan in the background being from the Scottish heritage on my Husband’s side. But the other image is that of the stain glass window over our own front door in our family home. As we know the best way to stand firm is to have a large base of support and in the case of trees that is a quality root system. So it does take work to be a person prepared to keep a firm foundation. Seeking what is right, surrounding yourself with people who care and are respectful. Showing love and compassion and not wavering under the pressures to make right versus not so right decisions morally and ethically. We are blessed to be reminded as a family every day that we can stand sure knowing God will be our guide and that he has a plan for each of us and as long as we are open to his living waters we can be sure to face the challenges and keep our base sure, steady and firm.

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Our bible verse this week is written about the Assyrian empire. The "great power" of Assyria is likened in this parable to a noble cedar planted in (or transferred to) the garden of Eden, raising its head high above all the other trees in that "garden of God;" its eminence and its beauty being largely due to the fact that it was so well watered at its roots, that "the waters nourished him, the deep made him to grow”.

The cedar, the source of strength and beauty. This great cedar was what it was because "it’s root were by great [many] waters." It was always nourished from below. It drew its strength from its roots, and its roots found their resources in the abundant streams that never failed to water and to refresh them. Strength and beauty grow out of character, moral and spiritual, as the leaves and the branches and the stem grow out of the roots of the tree. And character must be fed by the living streams of truth that flow in the garden of God. We must, if we want to be the symmetrical and fruit-bearing tree we should aspire to become, take care that mind and heart are well nourished by all the truth we can gather from God.

Being people of character takes effort and resilience. Just like in the current drought the plants need to continually seek out any opportunity for the waters to give them life, we must look every day to show we can be sustained through the word of God and our actions reaching in to the community in ways that adds life and does not detract from that. Being people with positive and caring ways allows us to receive the same in return. May the mighty cedar tree of Assyria be a lived out example here at Faith through our actions, community spirit and appreciation that every member needs us to share the living waters through our encouragement, support and love. I ask that we each strive these next weeks to show our own strengths and be a blessing to others so they too feel precious in this place here at Faith and beyond.

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Elements taken from: https://biblehub.com/sermons/ezekiel/31-7.htm

Events, Ceremonies and Rituals

Author: Rebecca Qualischefski - Middle Years Coordinator

Senior students leading our International Women’s Day event

Senior students leading our International Women’s Day event

At Faith, in recent days we have celebrated and marked with ceremony, a number of significant annual calendar events. Among many of these have included International Women’s Day events, Turning of the Sod ceremonies and Rite Journey Calling and Departure rituals, Anti Bullying Week reflections.

Our concept of self and formation of identity is shaped by multiple interactions with others and experiences of the world. As we develop and grow as humans, we participate in a multitude of events through which we “connect the dots” of our lived experience to form a unique concept of self and in turn, community. These experiences move from a conscious level of interpretation lived in the moment or in the context to the subconscious level where they are reflected in our beliefs, values and actions as we move through life. When we reflect upon how both positive and negative influences have affected upon us, we are better able to critique our choices and responses in the present and make goals for how we want to be as a person within our relationships in the future.  How we think, feel, respond are markers for us personally and markers for others of our authenticity in relationships.

In our individual and community journey of Christian faith, our God shapes us daily as we interact with Him through his Word. We are comforted and encouraged to leave our burdens at the foot of the cross of Jesus, our Saviour and Redeemer. When we walk daily in His Spirit, Galations 5:22-23 says:

God’s Spirit makes us loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled. There is no law against behaving in any of these ways.

As people of God’s Way, we want to recognise His Spirit in each other and respond, to live authentically in relationship with others. What a privilege it is when we recognise this in each other to build up the body of Christ within our community.

Community and personal celebrations, reflections and rituals lead us to live intentional lives of service to others, to be a blessing and receive many blessings in return.

Foundations - What are you building on?

Author: Mr Chris Breingan, Curriculum Manager

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
Matthew 7: 24-27

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This well-known bible passage paints a vivid picture. It compares two types of people – one who hears the Word of God and applies it to his life is like a builder who builds a house with a strong foundation on a rock. The second man is the one who hears the Word of God and ignores what he hears - they are like a builder who build his house on sand. Both houses stand at the start, both houses would appear identical from the outside, but what separates theses two images is what happens to them when trouble comes their way. The house on the rocks remains standing, unshaken, and strong, but the one on the sand crumbles and is overcome by trouble. 

A few weeks ago, I was sitting in a meeting at school and was asked to consider what are my foundations like, what have I built my life on. We were asked to consider what influences, what examples, what moments have gone into shaping our foundations. I listened as people shared their thoughts and then I offered one of mine. I spoke of the example of my father. He would go to work religiously every day, I cannot remember him ever having a day off. I am certain he never ‘pulled a sickie’; he was reliable, leaving at the same time every morning and arriving home the same time every evening. He was a loyal employee and had a commendable work ethic. I realised in that moment that his example had helped to shape a part of my foundations for life. Through what I had seen and experienced as a child, I too have developed a similar work ethic to his.

Many of the things I do now have been influenced by the foundations that were constructed in my life many years ago. These foundations come from the things that I experienced with my family, through my school or through my church. The way I handle pressure, the way I react to a crisis, the way I celebrate the good times, all these things stem from the foundations that were laid many years ago. My foundation of knowing God and having an unwavering faith in Him was given to me through my parents and my grandparents. All through my childhood and teenage years, little did I know or even consider that the foundations for the rest of my life were being designed and developed by my family and my community.

Back to our parable - the role of our College is to be a strong influence and part of the foundations for our students. This is a role we shouldn’t take lightly as we understand that we are partnering with the families in our community to design and develop in our students their foundations for life. Our prayer is that our students come to know God and develop strong foundations in Him. We hope they become aware of the importance of building a life with Christ, so when trials or challenges come their way, they can remain strong in Him.

Restorative Practices Reflections

Author: Mr Reid Dobson, Acting Director of Student Services

As the College continues to engage with and implement Restorative Practices as a key element of our Pastoral Care processes, the mid-way mark of Term 1 provides us with a great opportunity to reflect on our journey so far this year.

At Faith, Restorative Practices (RP) focusses on developing solutions to concerns regarding behaviour and discipline; however, more importantly RP is about the restoration of relationships when conflict arises. Whilst this can be confronting for some students, we have found that it helps develop empathy, resilience and an enhanced understanding on how a student’s choices can affect the world around them.

Circle Chat during Care Group

Circle Chat during Care Group

Key to the success of RP is the continued inclusion and active engagement of students in the relational management process. Students at Faith share in the opportunity to develop classroom expectations, regularly engage in conversations on a range of ethical and social issues during Circle Chat, take on lead roles in the delivery of pastoral care programs, and are active participants in relational management processes when challenging situations arise. This increased ownership and accountability by students has had a profound influence on developing College culture and improving aspects of communication and support between staff and students.

This term through our Pastoral Care programs we have focussed on helping students understand how their choices impact others and contribute to the culture, feel and overall College environment here at Faith. Of importance for many of our students has been supporting them in maintaining respectful relationships with one another by working through conflict calmly and respectfully, by considering the impact of their words and conversations and avoiding the temptation to lash out physically at one another in frustration.

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Schools are organisations based around relationships and keeping these largely positive relies on students maintaining high standards of application to their studies and implementation of the basic rules and procedures of College. It has been great to see teachers and staff supporting students throughout the beginning of Term 1 to help get basic expectations like uniform, following simple directions, mobile device use and classroom behaviour up to high standard. For RP to be successfully implemented these high expectations need to be continually reinforced by staff and parents through high levels of care and support.

Lastly, an ongoing message for our students this term has been around appreciating and respecting the opportunity that they, as learners, have here at Faith. Year Coordinators have been busy encouraging students to employ a positive growth mindset, a diligent application to their studies and a willingness to find an appropriate balance between their work, social and school lives so that they can maximise their potential in 2019.

A strong partnership between students, parents/carers and staff is vital in helping us support our students as they continue to grow as holistic learners in this ever-changing community landscape.