Middle School News

Well this wasn’t what we were thinking!

We were expecting to see everyone’s faces back on site smiling, learning in the classrooms, playing in the playground, etc. Remote learning was something that we thought was hopefully a thing of the past, something we dealt with earlier in the year – and dealt with really well by the way. Who would’ve thought that we would have to push “repeat” on this all over again. The plus this time around is that we are very familiar with how it works, we have tweaked the way we do things from a school’s perspective and with the commitment of both students and staff I am confident that we will once again succeed in this challenging environment.

Despite being at home for their learning there has still been plenty of things happening virtually and/or behind the scenes for our students. On Wednesday last week our girls and boys had an assembly hosted by our Director of Curriculum outlining the subject selection process for next year. For our Year 7 & 8 students, this was focussing on which electives they were keen to study next year after listening to a number of staff talk about their particular subjects on offer. In Year 8 & 9 students select one elective subject per semester from a wide variety of options. These choices are highly guided by interest of the students and range from performing arts, visual arts, cooking, IT, commerce, physical education, plus more. For our current Year 9s the assembly introduced them to our suite of Year 10 electives as well as the idea of beginning a VCE/VET Unit 1/2 subject in Year 10. Students have the ability to complete two subjects per semester and were also introduced to each subject on offer by different staff. The process of subject selection will begin on Saturday 25 July and will close on Sunday 2 August. More details will come soon regarding the next steps.

With EISM Sport and organised activities not currently running, our sports department have a number of different opportunities for our students to get involved in. These have been advertised on the Student Bulletin and I would encourage those who are interested to check them out. The first is a basketball top design competition in conjunction with Basketball Victoria, AND1 and Spalding, whilst the second is a basketball coaching course session on Wednesday 22 July run via Zoom. Students are encouraged to follow the links to these opportunities if they are interested.

During our first remote learning experience earlier in the year we provided lots of information to our students around looking after themselves and looking out for each other. Tintern’s pastoral care program and the dedication of our staff will ensure we continue to monitor and support our students through the second round of remote learning. From a parent’s perspective there are a few key things that you can do to help your child/children:

  • Talk to them openly about it and listen to them. Engage in appropriate discussion with them about the virus, the impact on community, the risks, the necessary precautions, etc. Ask them what they know or think about it – you may find the opportunity to allay any fears or misconceptions they may have.
  • Manage your own anxiety. Children will pick up on your anxiety and levels of stress, as much as they will from your positive energy. Utilise your own support network of friends, families, the school, etc. and be sure you’re feeling calm when talking to your children about it.
  • Reassure them. They will be worried about their safety and that of their loved ones. Reassure them that most children who get the virus show mild symptoms. Reassure them that the current stay at home restrictions are designed to help prevent the spread, particularly to older and more vulnerable adults.
  • Reinforce good hygiene habits. Continue to reinforce the habits of washing hands for 20 seconds with soap and water regularly such as after playing outside, before eating, after sneezing or coughing, after going to the toilet etc.
  • Maintain routines. This is important for all teenagers and adults alike. Do your best to maintain consistency in sleep patterns, meals, family rituals, etc. You may need to create some new ones whilst in remote learning, so be creative and have fun!
  • Screen time concerns. Understand that screen time will increase to some degree for all children. It is how they will be doing their learning, it is also how they will be connecting with their friends. Allow them the opportunities to do this, just make sure it is at appropriate times and that screens are turned off well before sleep time.
  • Share positive stories. Children can be motivated by stories of acts of kindness. Always look for stories to show them about compassion, generosity, kindness, etc. This could be current health care workers, scientists, etc.

There a many great websites available with lots of information. A few that I think have some pretty valuable information are:

At a time when the mental health of all Australians, and indeed everyone around the world, is paramount, we are continually looking for ways to best support and guide our students and their families. For this reason, on Wednesday 29 July we are excited to be having the third of our GEM Days for this year. GEM is the acronym we use from our Resilience Project work that centres around Gratitude, Empathy and Mindfulness, whilst also encompassing many other areas of personal growth in our students such as emotional literacy, organisation and personal development. Our GEM days allow opportunities for our students to take a sideways step from their regular timetabled classes in order to focus on other important areas of their lives that will help support them during this period of remote learning. These days are extremely important for our student in order to ensure they are equipped to approach remote learning in a positive and optimistic manner. The Year Level Co-ordinators and Pastoral Mentors will be providing students with more specific information closer to the date.

As tough as these times could potentially seem to some, there is so much growth that all of us, especially our students, will get out of this experience. In the meantime, maintain your connections with them, maintain your communication with them, and if anything, enjoy the extra time you have with your children. There will inevitably come a time when they will once again be able to go out, to visit friends, etc. and you will miss the times you had with them at home.

 

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