Stretching comfort zones

“What I find really interesting is to try and mix it up, to push myself and try different things. I don’t want to stay in my comfort zone. I want to take risks and keep myself scared.”- Michael Fassbender

I have a tutor group of 15 year 9 boys, all academically moderate, all into and playing sports and some who play musical instruments. With our house music competition auditioning for a band, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to discuss and encourage the boys to stretch their comfort zones and audition for the band.

I spoke to the group about the auditions and we had a discussion about the benefit of being involved. The main feedback from them was that the audition process would challenge them, and increase confidence and the performance would help increase their ‘visibility’ around the school by being an ‘all rounder’. The boys were all hesitant to audition, they were nervous about having to perform in front of the year 13 prefects. So i offered a prize to any student who auditioned, regardless of the result as a celebration of them being brave and stepping out of their comfort zone.

One of the boys eventually went through with the audition, coming back and explaining to the other boys that it wasn’t as scary as he had been expecting it to be. A few of the other boys have only begun learning their instrument this year, and their discussion with him helped them see they might be ready to audition themselves next year. The boy who auditioned received an Easter egg, presented in front of the rest of the group who congratulated him for his effort.

That evening I received an email from the boys parents:

Hi Naomi.

Just a quick note to say many thanks for the generous Easter egg you gave (student). He said it was because he auditioned for house music ! Both his mum and I were really pleased, off his own bat, he wanted to audition as he has played the guitar since he was 6 and after being involved in lessons at the college when he first came in year 7, having always loving the guitar, he went completely cold on it and gave up for the best part of 6 months. !  He has been back having lessons at home with his old guitar teacher and has fallen back in love with the guitar so we were really pleased he wanted to audition. He said it went well so will see if they need him to rip up the guitar but we are both just pleased he’s back playing again. He also loves singing while he’s playing so you might even be able to get him to crack out a few songs in your tutor group one day. !

Anyway many thanks for your generosity and its kind of cool because he seems to be back to his old self with wanting to play all the time again

Thanks Naomi

Best Regards


To which we engaged in the following responses:

Hi (parents)

No worries at all! I had promised the boys a prize if they auditioned and as it turned out, (student) was the only one to go through with it. We had a chat in tutor period about the need to step out of their comfort zones and that auditioning, despite the result, will help build confidence, resiliency and spread their name/reputation wider in the school community. (student) had actually already signed up for the audition before he even knew about the prize so it was totally his own idea and I am thrilled that he has rekindled his passion for the guitar. More importantly its great he is putting himself out there.  He’s doing really well still and despite the long term, and many tired people around him (student) remains his positive self!

Thanks for the feedback, great to hear.


Thanks Naomi.

(Student) loves being in your Tutor group so keep up the great work you are doing.  The house music night is massive at (school)  as you have probably heard so yeah a big call for him to audition as the night is in front of a big audience and akin to a rock concert  !!  It doesn’t bother us if they need his guitar skills or not but like you said good to take himself outside his comfort zone. That said up until he stopped playing in year 7  he was always happy playing and singing in front of large groups so hopefully that confidence and enthusiasm is returning

Thanks again Naomi

Have a great break when it rolls around

It was retribution to have this feedback from the parents as not only is it nice to know that the student is enjoying our tutor group but more importantly that the parents and I are on the same page in terms of their child’s development and growth at school. In our ‘meet the parents’ evening I talked about the importance of us having a ‘two pronged approach’ to the work I do with the students at school and the messages they receive at home. In this case the boy in question will have had the messages about being brave and resilient as well as versatile in skill reinforced at home and in the classroom.

This setting up of relationships with the parents will support his pastoral and academic care throughout his time at the school.

“By Education I mean an all-round drawing of the best in child and man in mind, body and soul” Gandhi