Pastoral care crucial in dormitory life
A common perception is that there is a lot of stress to face in dormitory life. A regular day at the boarding school requires students to wake up and go to bed at a set time. Meal and shower times are also set. Laundry is also managed every day and there is basically no room for pampering. Because it is communal living, students are with their classmates 24 hours a day, there is almost no alone time, and they need to be considerate of others' privacy. Tensions will be continuous, and the class schedule will be tight at times. These are steps to overcome, but at the same time, they are a source of stress.
What is the key to becoming accustomed to this boarding school lifestyle?
One vital key is adopting good manners
In the British private school system, students are thoroughly taught to follow good manners. Rather than imposing restrictions on behaviour, they are asked to considerate to their fellow human beings, by acting and speaking with mutual respect. Being direct and polite includes speaking up, listening to others, and always being ready to help someone when needed. Furthermore, politeness makes each student empathetic in the opportunity to show their aptitude to each other, and with the continued feedback of praise and recognition, it creates a common feeling of security and solidarity. Dormitory life provides another important aspect of education which "prepares you for life", not "for exams".
Pastoral care to instil good manners
This type of emotional education where all students can enjoy school in a positive sense is called pastoral care and is emphasized in many boarding schools. The word originates from the "supervision" (care) from a "priest" (a pastor), but it can also be interpreted as "the guidance a teacher gives to a student regarding his or her studies, life, and character, as a pastor would to a believer.
Proactive and challenging people are said to have a high level of happiness. Pastoral care is here to develop students' ability to solve problems in order to make them feel at home and develop a sense of self-worth. It supports academic achievement, safety protection, health and welfare, and physical and mental growth. Researchers argue that pastoral care is not just student guidance, but support for the holistic development of students.