Duncan Garner: Auckland Grammar counselling approach worthy of praise

Opinion 23/07/2019

Tim O'Connor, he's the principal of Auckland Grammar. 

Good principal - modern, forward thinking, agitating for change, brought in compulsory te reo Māori in year nine. It's up to the boys whether they took it the following years. Progressive but not force feeding them the language either.

Now his educational wisdom comes in the form of counsellors.

It's true that us men, or us boys, don't like to admit it when we are going through a tough patch.

Especially if you're a teenager at a boys school with a thousand other boys. 

Talking to a counsellor might be seen as weak, wussy, you might get hassled.

So O'Connor has set up a team of five counsellors, but he's ditched the stigma of boys lining up outside the counsellors office that only sends the message that, 'Hey boys, Johnny needs help'.

So what he's done, is put all his counsellors in a hub called the student services hub and the boys are there for anything and everything. No one knows why the other one is there. 

Careers advice, or a violent father. Suicidal thoughts, or simply should I take chemistry next year?

Or maybe, the girlfriend just left me. On that point, there's plenty of women out there lads, don't rush into anything, focus on your studies and sport or music or whatever it is that you love. 

Girls can wait. There's my advice, given of course with the gift of hindsight and years of mistakes. 

But to Tim O'Connor, well done. Your boys are talking.

Duncan Garner is host of The AM Show.