I wish to share with you my message to your children in assembly today:
What are you doing here?
Here at Thomas More College, specifically? Do you ever take pause to consider your WHY? To consider this WHY would awaken your senses to your possibilities. But, to see possibility, you must be fully present and engaged.
Why did we ask you to fill in that page from your report in the final week of last term? It was to spark an awareness of who and how you are in class. It is so easy to get lost or distracted in what can often seem like a mundane routine of traversing from class to class, from teacher to teacher, without really engaging fully with what you are actually doing, experiencing, saying, seeing, hearing and thinking. A passive disposition such as this can often result in you becoming a Curriculum Casualty – you just go along passively, letting things happen to you. This inevitably leads you to become dislocated and disengaged with your abilities and potential.
When this happens, parents often blame the teachers first. At Thomas More, our teachers are qualified; we come to class prepared; we want to open your eyes to possibility; we want to make a difference. However, there is no magic wand here – unlocking your individual gambit of possibility is up to you - your own buy-in is required to embrace your own unique set of abilities and possibilities.
This school is not designed for you just to survive. How will you flourish? How will you thrive? You have a birth-right to thrive and flourish and, as Mr Maurice's assembly last term evidenced, we have every opportunity in this life, right now. Whilst it is your birth-right to thrive, it is a privilege to do so at a school such as Thomas More College with its incredible facilities, qualified and committed staff, and wide range of opportunities.
What does TMC require from you as a starting point, as your personal kick-start towards unearthing and nurturing your personal possibilities?
Your own level of academic aspiration is required. It is not the “school’s job” to teach you this. You should imbue this disposition of academic aspiration in yourself. We also expect you to embrace a disposition of independence, self-reliance and self-motivation. I expect you to engage fully in class - this is where deep learning for understanding happens. If you don't understand something, ASK, LISTEN, ENGAGE, ASK AGAIN. Don't just journey passively, and then demand extra lessons as the test or exam is upon you.
We spend so much of our time here, and by the time you leave, it must beg the question of us all: what have you done here? I wish for some simple things for you, boys and girls:
1. learn to value yourself, the best version of yourself, because you can and should;
2. that we are all someone of resilience who acknowledges challenge, disappointment and problems as the most awesome, valuable opportunities to grow yourself;
3. that your own thinking about things becomes deep and broad;
4. that you have re-awakened your own innate curiosity and creativity - you were born with oodles of both;
5. that you are a confident collaborator, particularly when required to collaborate with people who are vastly different to you, and you celebrate that difference and regard it as valuable - and you will only do so if you value yourself to begin with - differences of opinion won't come across as being right or wrong, or a threat to your person - they will simply be a robust mechanism to consider otherness.
If we can instil these 5 dispositions, and you can embrace them, you will thrive and flourish.
That's why I'm here.That’s why your teachers are here.
Why are you here?