Adolescence would have to be one of, if not the, most complicated and challenging stages of life. Not only are they grappling with the demands of school and the pressure they get from their teachers and parents to achieve to their maximum at all times, they are also going through the period of life where peer acceptance is at its absolute highest. How they look, what they wear, who they talk to, etc are all added pressures on young minds and with the increased use of social media and the immediate effect/impact this can have, it produces an environment that puts a very large amount of stress on young teenagers. Some teens have developed great coping mechanisms for what life throws at them whereas others are still trying to build up their defence system, their resilience, in order to help them deal with the pressures of being a teen.
Mental Health Week was from 4 – 10 October, with World Mental Health Day on 10 October. In our Pastoral Program we have discussed what mental health is with the boys and talked about how they can spot the signs of it in their friends, as well as look to get help themselves if they are struggling in some way. Below are a couple of links; one to a site that helps parents and other adults to understand mental health in teenagers, as well as a story from ABC iView that we watch in our Year 8 Pastoral Care session around the experiences of a boy similar to their age.
Our Year 7s are busily preparing for their Night of the Notables which is on Tuesday 27 October. This is one of the really great events in Year 7 and is well worth coming along to see even if you don’t have a son in Year 7. Both the boys and girls are involved and they have been investigating a ‘Notable’ (someone they admire or respect) and will be taking on the persona of this person as well as displaying information about them. It is a great night that begins at 7:30pm.
The Year 9s have started to show their attempts to cook a meal for ‘mum and dad’ over the recent holidays and I must admit, from the video/photo evidence, it looks as though they have done a really good job! I haven’t heard of any food poisoning incidents or anything like that so I can assume that you are all ok! This is part of the ‘Becoming a man’ unit which we are currently running in our pastoral program which has also seen Cam McLellan from Open Corp come out and talk to the boys on financial literacy and the importance of making good choices with their finances, especially when young. Over the next few weeks we will have the boys learning to iron shirts, sew buttons, change car tyres, the difference between two and four stroke fuel, making lattes, learning etiquette and many other little life skills before focussing on exam study techniques for the end of year.
Recently in the Middle School we have received some very impressive results and recognition for some of our students, not just locally but also nationally. Gavin Choong of Year 9 entered into the Mathematical Association of Victoria’s Maths Talent Quest and was judged the best Year 9 individual project in Victoria. His project was then entered in the national completion and has just been announced as the winning project for Australia. We are also incredibly lucky to have Ashleigh Dowling in the Tintern Middle School who also won the Year 7 Individual Prize not just for Victoria but also for Australia. Never before have two students from the same school won at state level like Gavin and Ashleigh did, however to both win at the National level is amazing! Well done to both.
On Monday 12th we had our annual Celebration Evening which is an event to recognise the wonderful achievements of our students throughout the year as well as an opportunity to formally farewell our Year 12 cohort. It was a fantastic evening of musical performances, scenes from Cabaret, awards for students and a variety of different singing pieces including a mass singing event at the end.
Please be sure to think about mental health, not just in your children but in yourself as well. It is something that we need to recognise, to understand and to deal with if problems arise as a happy mind is a powerful mind.
by Brett Trollope, Head of Boys Middle School