Expectation #3 - Maximise Learning - "School is your job"
The Bayside Way is a framework that provides a common set of expectations through which we build and maintain our College community and consists of the four expectations of Respect, Responsibility, Maximise Learning and Kindness. The Bayside Way is not a set of rules, but rather is designed to honour our students who consistently meet and often exceed these expectations every day, and help them to grow and strengthen themselves. Hence, teachers use these expectations primarily to encourage and affirm students. Helpfully, teachers (and parents) can also use these expectations to help students understand what it is about a behaviour or attitude that a student may be exhibiting that is not helpful or appropriate.
Stemming from God’s Genesis mandate to work (1:28/2:15) with the call to serve in the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:27-28), we know that serving God in and through our work in all its shapes and forms is foundational to what it means to be a responsive disciple. As a learning community, having the expectation that students will maximise their learning may sound obvious, but of the four expectations, it is the one that articulates the ‘Why of School’. This is important because school is often viewed by students as a holding space before their real jobs and lives start rather than their job right now. Hence, when linked with the tagline of "School is your job", Maximise Learning becomes a powerful lens through which to shape students' thinking, and equip them to make good decisions and own their learning in a more tangible way.
Although Maximise Learning asks students to step into each class with the mindset that they are there to maximise their learning, this expectation is not solely a first person expectation; but rather, that learning is maximised, which requires students to think beyond their own learning to that of others. Students are expected to be active in building a supportive learning community where together they strive for excellence in their lives in all its forms. Interdependence rather than independence is key to students maximising their learning.
When explaining the expectation of Maximise Learning to students, I like to start with the tagline, "School is your job". What is their job? In simple terms, a student's job is to learn. I have found that when students don’t picture school as their job they, from time to time, struggle to understand the why of school and school life. The premise here is that in almost every way, the patterns and expectations of school life mirror that of a job out in the world, and as students begin to see school as their job, they begin to understand why teachers and parents place the expectations and demands on them that they do.
A common example of this is wearing a uniform. Students know that certain occupations require a uniform. They are also very comfortable with the idea that people in these occupations often don’t get to choose what they wear. Students also get that if you don’t wear the correct uniform there are consequences. Yet at school they ask “why do I need to wear the correct uniform?”, and get upset when held accountable. Similarly, students understand that if their parents do not or can not complete the work they need to at work, they might work through a lunch break, stay late or bring work home in order to get it done. However, they do not necessarily apply these same expectations to themselves at school.
Arriving on time, how you speak to your boss, how you treat your co-workers, and meeting deadlines, the list of similarities between school and work is not only long but are similarities that students recognise as normal (even reasonable) for parents to experience; but don't necessarily apply the same standards to themselves at school.
I hope you can see that helping students visualise school as ‘their job’, and that that job is to learn, is a helpful construct to encourage students to not only understand the ‘why’ of the expectations placed on them at school in a different and helpful light, but to take greater ownership of their learning, take hold of the opportunities presented at school, and strive for excellence in their lives.