Posted on August 3, 2021 / Middle School
“The art of life lies in the constant readjustment to our surroundings” is a quote by Kakuzo Okakura that has never been truer for our world today. We all know that coping with change as an adult can be challenging, even with experience in life; coping with change as a teenager is potentially a whole new level. Without the experience behind them, or the full development of their brain and its processes for coping with change, teenagers often find it difficult to understand how to deal with change and how to adapt themselves effectively, at least without being guided or educated.
In this time of COVID, change is almost a day-to-day occurrence for everyone, especially teenagers. From school life to home life, social activities to sporting activities, the rules are constantly changing, and we need to recognise the importance of helping to guide and educate our teenagers in how to best cope with all these changes. It is important for them to understand that changes in emotions such as anger, sadness or anxiety are all very much a normal part of life, just as much as happiness is also.
As adults, we have a pivotal role in helping them to understand how best to work with these emotions. This includes providing encouragement to recognise that change can help promote other strengths such as resilience and adaptability, and how the development of these attributes will place them in great stead for their future. Reassuring them that challenges will present throughout their lives, and the importance of differentiating between what they can control and what they cannot. Or it may involve talking to others, be it peers or trusted adults/mentors, who can help provide support and guidance to deal with such change. As school staff, we could not be prouder of our Middle School students. The effort and commitment that they have demonstrated through these ongoing changes from face-to-face learning to remote learning, has demonstrated to everyone how incredibly resilient and adaptable they are becoming.
In the last two weeks of school, we began our subject selection processes for 2022 with Year 7 & 8 students looking at a suite of electives to choose from for next year, whilst our Year 9s are looking at either an elective based program for Year 10, or one that is combined with potentially accelerating in a VCE subject next year. All students have been provided with information and guidance around recognising their own personal strengths as well as their interests when making these decisions.
Our recent Middle School assembly was prerecorded and shown in pastoral sessions last week. Our leaders focused on the attributes of commitment and perseverance, using the current and past Olympics to highlight some wonderful stories of achievement and fulfilment. The leaders then encouraged students to recognise their own strengths and how they can look to celebrate and best use these assets at school.
Throughout Term 2 our Year 7 & 8 pastoral program focused on study skills, and following on from Semester 1 reports, it is a great opportunity for students to be putting into practice a number of the concepts and ideas that were introduced to them. In Term 3 our 7s & 8s move into a unit titled Positive Digital Behaviours where they will focus on continuing to understand the risks associated with on online presence in the cyber world, and to ensure that they are presenting themselves in the best possible manner in this realm. Our Year 9s are moving into a unit titled “Identity & Impacts: Respectful Relationships” where they further develop their understanding of their own growth and development, and the impact that they have on others.
On Monday 9th August our Year 9s go to their Winter Camp based at Camp Howqua in the Howqua Valley. They will be rotating through activities such as white water rafting, cross-country skiing, mountain biking and hiking. The Winter Camp is always a huge highlight for students and certainly an experience they will remember for a long time.