Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,
Last week on Thursday night I watched a film on Maori T.V. about the clashes that the great American basketball player Reggie Miller had with the New York Knicks team.
The focus on the film was the various levels of adversity that Reggie has to overcome to become a
superstar. His biggest hurdle was his sister Cheryl who for most of his life could “outshoot, out dribble and out fight him” (she is still looked upon as the greatest woman player ever). When he played, whole arenas of 35000 people would chant Cheryl at him to put him off.
But through overcoming these adversities he developed a level of resilience that enabled him to be a
champion in anyway that you define a champion. He always wanted to take the ’clutch shot’ and he only played for one professional team (the Indiana Pacers) leading them to be one of the very best.
He was a glass half full person, he looked at a situation and could see the positive possibilities. He would approach the foul line (and he shot 90% in his career) thinking I can get 2 points for my team here while other players approached thinking “please don’t let me miss”.
Our responsibility as parents and teachers is to encourage our kids to be half full people—approach the game wanting to score, when you go out to bat want to face the bowler. If a challenge is presented to you then seize the moment “Carpe Diem”!
We want our learners to be risk takers, people who challenge themselves. How we do that is by
highlighting the good– accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative. My son is a cricketer, a good, not great batsman. He averages about 20 in men’s premier reserve cricket. He scores steadily but slowly, he accumulates. He faces the opening bowlers and like a matador takes them on. Mostly he wins but sometimes he is out. He got to where he is by being supported in his self belief, by ignoring the critics who want to slog a quick 12 and get out, but mostly by concentrating on what he does well and eliminating negative thoughts.
As Walt Whitman said “keep your face always towards the sunshine—shadows will fall behind you”.
Have a great week
Mike Brosnahan
Room 7

Monday, March 17, 2014

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,
This week is Dyslexia awareness week. Dyslexia is an often misunderstood topic. Some famous people
who were/are dyslexic are Leonard da Vinci, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Richard Branson and
F Scott Fitzgerald to name a few.
We live in a world where people who see things differently are not always valued as well as they should
be. The world we live in has been shaped not by the people who micro-manage the small things but by
those who see the ‘big picture’, those who are able to look outside the box to see solutions.
Often we become stuck in a mind set of only seeing a certain way to achieve a goal. Those who have the
gift of dyslexia have and continue to achieve some amazing feats. The number of entrepreneurs who
have the gift of dyslexia is as you would imagine large. Some of the most noteworthy of these (excluding
the afore mentioned Richard Branson) are: Henry Ford, William Hewlett (Hewlett -Packard), Ted Turner,
Frank M Woolworth and Ingvar Kamprad (Ikea). All of these are people who see problems in a new and
innovative way, many struggled early on at school, all are very resilient people.
This week as it is Dyslexia awareness week try to find out about the strengths that people with the gift of
Dyslexia have. Visit the website www.dyslexia.com/famous.htm. I leave you with words of that most
famous poet who has the gift of Dyslexia William Butler Yeats “I would be ignorant as the dawn that mere-ly stood, rocking the glittering coach. Above the cloudy shoulders of the horses; I would be for no
knowledge is worth a straw. Ignorant and wanton as the dawn”. William Butler Yeats (1865 -1939) Irish
Poet, playwright “the Dawn”.
Have a great week
Mike Brosnahan

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,
What a great week last week was, Walk and Wheel week. Firstly let me start by thanking Mrs Matheson
for all of her hard work in planning and organizing the events.
Obviously the highlights were the Walk and Wheel to school together as a group along side the Mayor
and the Duathlon. Both of which were well supported by our parents.
I remember an old saying that my father (and his peers) liked to quote “do as I say not as I do”. It sounds
all very good when you say this to children but the reality is that it just doesn’t work, people respect you
for what you do not what you say. The reality is that as parents we are all role models for our children,
what they see us do they will do. I find myself still modelling some of my thinking on my fathers actions
even after all these years.
If children see us as active people then they will be active, if they see us read and write, then they will
read and write. We are all role models.
When our children are younger our actions have more impact because they don’t question as much and
their parents are the centre of their universe. Lets face it, teenagers are going to be more questioning,
but even they watch closely what the significant adults in their lives do and how they behave. Being a
role model is a big responsibility. However like all actions that we take with great effort they also bring
great rewards.
Have a great week
Mike Brosnahan

Monday, March 3, 2014

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,
As I look out the window this morning I am greeted by the type of dark steely grey sky that signals our
summer has ended and we are well into autumn. One of the interesting points to note about education is
that most if not all of the great universities in the world are located in the cooler temperate climates;
Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Yale, The Sorbonne and of course Otago. Many theories have been
circulated as to why this occurs and one logical explanation is that the cooler climate encourages people
during the cooler seasons to stay inside and study. It must be hard to stay inside reading “War and
Peace” when you live in Hawaii.
Study is often a personal thing, people approach it in different ways to achieve different goals. I am the
kind of person who is able to study very intensively for short periods (cram), while other people like to
allow a longer period for their learning.
The new structure of NCEA of a mixture of internal and external assessment based over a year seems to
be a much fairer system then the old School Certificate model of a half pass and a half fail, all in one
One of our schools key phrases on our vision is the term ‘life long learners’.
Everybody is a life long learner—there is always something new that we desire to or simply need to learn.
A famous quote states “the more that I know then the more I want to know”.
This is a very true statement when you consider, that once you learn something new you will have
questions that occur to you. The broader your knowledge the more questions. The challenge for our
young people is to keep the base of their learning as broad as possible.
The broader the base of learning then the higher the possible apex because the student is more likely to
find a subject that truly interests them and we always study harder if we are interested.
Have a great week
Mike Brosnahan