Over summer, I noticed a framed ‘Be Your Own Hero’ poster in a gift shop. My instant reaction was one of horror. Surely, we don’t want to be encouraging holiday-makers to be grabbing hoses and rushing into the dreadful fires? While we absolutely admire the courageous fire-fighters, surely keeping out of the way was best role for tourists? Of course, a long walk along the Anglesea beach helped me gain perspective (as it always does) and I soon realised that the horror fire season had got the better of me and that the poster’s message was very important.
We should indeed all try to have a voice, to make our needs and opinions known and to forge our own path through life. I have been very impressed with the number of Middle School students who have been doing just that over the last few weeks. I have been working with students who have been requesting more challenge, others who have wanted more support, others who have decided that they would appreciate a change of elective and others have needed to work through friendship issues. In many cases, these students have initiated the conversations. They have not relied on their parents or mentors to send an email but rather have made their way to Middle School Reception and explained their concern. These students are to be commended on the way they have engaged with their issue and articulated their needs and worked through problem. Although it is not possible to accommodate every request (I do try!), there is no doubt that these students are taking steps towards becoming the wise, independent, motivated learners at the centre of Carey’s Model for Positive Learning.
Of course, there are many Middle School students who are not making their journey on their own any time soon and the upcoming Meet the Mentor and Parent-Student-Teacher evenings are important opportunities to help them find their voice in a supportive environment. This year, students are invited to both evenings and to be part of the discussions around goal setting and learning behaviours as well as information sharing and reflection on last year. Parents will have been sent two emails with links and password details. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you need help managing these systems.
Finally, I would like to acknowledge the amazing work of the Middle School Administration team. There is no doubt that the reason many of our students can confidently visit Middle School Reception (and our parents can happily ring) is because of our calm, helpful, knowledgeable and welcoming ‘front’. With Nicole running Reception, Sharon managing curriculum, Lee leading outdoor experiences and Liza co-ordinating Michael’s office, we have the absolute A team. They smooth the journey for all our families and are most definitely my heroes!
Deputy Head of Middle School – Student Learning