Posted on June 16, 2020 / Middle School
One of the most delightful aspects of teaching in the Middle Years is seeing the rapid progression from nervous Year 7 to confident Year 9. It is not surprising that these years can often be fairly tumultuous for our young women, when you consider the rapid pace of growth physically, emotionally and mentally. This journey continues into senior school, and it warms my heart each year to see our senior girls return to take part in our big sister/big brother program. It is wonderful to hear the little snippets of advice that they hand out to the new Year 7s on a variety of topics such as how to get ahead academically, how to reduce procrastination, how to manage friendships and how to continue to have good relationships with your parents. I can hardly believe how quickly time passes when I look up at our Senior School Captains and Leaders and remember them for the nervous Year 7s we welcomed only a few short years ago. At the end of Year 12 there is a great tradition where they are given time capsules that they created in Year 7. Placed into these time capsules are examples of their projects, photos of camps, and activities and even their celebrity crushes and favourite bands. These last two always get a good laugh in Year 12. One of the most treasured items is a letter to their future self. They write about the things that they hope for in the future, dream of the adventures that they will have, and offer advice to their future selves. This cathartic process is good for our Year 7s but also good for our Year 12s as they look back through the lens of the Year 7 that they were, and see the adult they are now. Our Year 7s this year have made sure to include some relevant snippets from our current world, such as newspaper articles about COVID-19, and a personal reflection on what they gained from their time in isolation, focusing on the positives.
In Year 8 our girls have created a gratitude wall in rainbow colours focusing in particular on their time at home. The result is a mammoth set of positive reflections on remote learning and a recognition of what is important to them in life. They have also been working on a mandala wall, taking the time to seek joy in the simple things in life. We are always seeking out ways to cultivate character in our young women and the Resilience Project is an essential part of helping us to build robust and proactive young women.
In Year 9 our girls have been learning about growth mindset through teaching themselves how to juggle. This practical activity helps girls to realise how limiting our own self doubt and hesitation can be, and how powerful things like knowledge, experience, and practice can help change our understanding of what we can do.
We have also been working to build Financial Literacy in our young women. This is such an important area in achieving equity between men and women which remains a significant issue today. We work through the basics of salaries, tax, savings, debit versus credit, and basic investments. Working through a scenario based, practical handbook, students get a real-life opportunity to consider in detail why financial literacy is so important and the opportunities that this can provide a woman entering the workforce. If you are a parent of Year 9, can I encourage you to ask your daughter questions about this program and share your knowledge and advice about managing finances, negotiating salaries, handling taxes and making wise investments/saving plans.
During remote learning, in Year 8 Science our girls have been embodying our motto of “courageous not perfect” through their creating of Rube Goldberg machines. What is a Rube Goldberg machine, I hear you ask? If you think back to your childhood you may remember the game mouse trap. That was a simple version of a Rube Goldberg machine. Basically, it is a collection of random items that are all connected together through the laws of physics to enable a particular task to be done. Such as turning on a switch of the kettle, or making a page of a book turn. The girls showed incredible creativity and ingenuity in their creations and I have a couple of samples below which are well worth a watch. It is truly amazing what can be achieved with thought, time, creativity and confidence to give things a go.
Also during remote learning, in Year 9 Chinese class, our students were provided with the chance to make their own delicious dumplings and tasty fried rice at home to experience one of the many wonderful cultural aspects of China.
Students have shown great adaptability in their approach to learning since returning. Whilst some aspects of schooling are back to normal there are many that are still different. Our Year 9 Outdoor Education class were able to learn how to ride their mountain bikes on tricky terrain through our bushland corridor, with thanks to our recent rain, provided some excellent slippery slopes to build their skills on.
Our music department has adapted to online concerts so that our students are still able to have an opportunity to perform their instrument. These delightful examples of the broad range of talents of our young musicians are showcased in the Senior School Piano Concert on May 19th and the Speech and Drama Concert on June 3rd. If you missed these events they are on the parent portal page under “Event recordings” https://portal.tintern.vic.edu.au/homepage/25398
Our Middle School Leaders have done a sterling job in putting together our MS assemblies each fortnight online. This involves a lot of pre-recording and creative thinking in how to deliver the key parts of an assembly, such as giving out awards without breaking the current restrictions. In particular, the end of Term 2 video was a powerful reflection of the positivity that has been evident throughout our Middle School in an unprecedented time of change and challenge. If you would like to view the last MS assembly, it has been posted on your child’s level page: https://portal.tintern.vic.edu.au/homepage/14173/. You can also view our Principal’s Assembly on the portal: https://portal.tintern.vic.edu.au/homepage/25583.
It’s hard to believe that this term is just about over, and with that comes the end of my time as Head of Girls’ Middle School. I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every family for your support and faith in my leadership and guidance of your daughters. I look forward to continuing to work with you all in a slightly different capacity. I am delighted to know that Mr Brett Trollope will be stepping across and taking on the role of Acting Head of Middle School. He is a man of outstanding character and care, whose passion for middle school education is clear in all that he does. You are absolutely in the very best of hands, and I am very confident that our Middle School will continue to thrive under his leadership. Wishing you all a very happy winter break, please continue to take care of yourselves and your loved ones. Looking forward to seeing you all in Term 3