By Marisa, Trinity parent
When our son was born, we had high hopes that he’d be a confident, happy and well-loved child. By the time he was old enough to start school, he was indeed all of these things! He showed curiosity for the world around him, had a fascination for stars, and was a loving, funny, happy-go-lucky kid.
We enrolled our son at a co-educational school and while things started off well, they quickly declined to worrying levels. At a parent teacher interview, our son was labelled as the class clown and disruptive. His teachers were telling us that he was unfocused on school work, in contrast to the lengths he’d go to in trying to make his classmates laugh. We were not surprised as time after time they had failed to engage him in areas that interested him.
Now I understand that as parents we sometimes view our children through rose-coloured lenses, but what we were being told about our son was at odds with the child we knew and loved. Putting it down to a case where student and teacher just didn’t click, we stuck it out for another year, but … things didn’t improve. We realised that this particular school didn’t have the tools necessary to engage our son effectively.
We decided to try the all-boys school our nephew had attended, Trinity, to see if that made a difference. Put simply, it did! And here are the reasons why I chose an all-boys school for my son and why it was the best decision my husband and I ever made. I don’t claim that this will work for every boy and none of these reasons are based on research, but it is our experience and it may resonate with other parents.
Firstly, I believe that by having to teach only boys, teachers can adapt their way of engaging with students which are more suited to boys’ energetic ways. At his previous school, our son was always being told to sit still and be quiet – it just didn’t suit his nature. At Trinity, he was provided ample opportunity to run, squirm and expel energy. He had so much to do, and there was so much he could relate to that captured his interest.
At his previous school our son was labelled as disengaged and his results reflected that. At Trinity, our son was just like the rest of his class, and rather than stifling his energy, the teachers harnessed it and engaged our son in active learning. Rather than chastise his ‘maleness,’ at Trinity it was celebrated.
The changes in our son’s learning became apparent early on and he seemed much happier. Just being surrounded by ‘big boys’ seemed to influence his behaviour and have a calming effect on him. He was in awe of the older students and looked up to them, wanting to be like them.
I was my son’s go-to person until he was about six years old, then I recognised that he developed a strong bond with his father, and from around age 13 he started to look to his friends and other males for male mentorship. While I am a strong advocate for women, there’s no denying that boys need positive male role models, mentors and influences. Our son found male role models in spades at Trinity, where the ratio of male and female teachers is more balanced.
Although initially concerned that my son may get a distorted view of women and their role in society at a single-sex school, I have been mindful that as his mother, it is also my job to make sure he knows that women are to be respected and should be treated as men’s equals. I was comforted by the fact that the School has strategies in place for promoting respect and gender equality and respect for all people in general. I also worried that he wouldn’t mix with girls his own age, but there are ample opportunities through School co-curricular activities and social functions, not to mention family members, and friends of his sister!
The co-curricular programmes on offer are varied and wide, enabling boys to find their passions and build on them. Our son has tried everything from basketball, soccer and swimming to Cadets, debating and music to make him the all-rounder he is today.
Now a senior, our son is self-motivated, driven and dedicated to studying and achieving his best. He is an excellent student and couldn’t be any further from the little boy we withdrew from the previous school. The biggest change that we’ve noticed? He actually enjoys school and being an active, valued member of the School community. We couldn’t be prouder!
For over a hundred years Trinity Grammar School has educated boys in mind, body and spirit. Our mission is to provide a thoroughly Christian education for boys from Pre-Kindergarten to Year 12, imparting knowledge and understanding of the world we live in, and recognising the importance of spiritual qualities in every sphere of learning. Fuelled by a pastorally aware culture with exceptionally high levels of individual student attention, we aim to know, understand and nurture each boy to help him realise his potential, passion and purpose in life.
To learn about the Trinity difference and to discover why we’re one of Sydney’s top boys’ schools, register for our upcoming Open Day.