From the Head of Middle School

Settling into Middle School
One of the things I enjoy about the change of season is that it reminds us that things are cyclical. Although we are always developing and shaping our program and activities to allow for ‘real-time’ and ‘responsive’ learning, schools tend to move through the year with a familiar pattern. After the excitement and hustle of the start to the year, it is nice to develop into a calmer and more methodical learning rhythm. The next couple of weeks are a great time to explore the information collected through Mentor discussions and the Parent Teacher Student Interviews, and ensure that learning is focussed and productive over the rest of the semester. 

As we move into the next phase of the year, students are encouraged to focus on how they can learn from feedback and face the rest of the year confident they are endeavouring to be the best they can be. Students are constantly developing, testing and re-defining their internal moral compasses, as well as developing habits of learning. I was discussing with some Year 9 students at the end of last week ‘what are the traits of a good student?’ – it was clear that the students are collectively very astute at articulating key behaviours that are referenced in a ‘good person’. Amongst the students’ suggestions, traits such as kindness, respect, honesty, determination, diligence, self-discipline and positivity were common. Over the last few weeks of term we will be working with students to continue to develop some of these traits. Although students, like everyone, make mistakes and are not always perfect, it is the growth and development that is important.

As we move through the term it is important to remind students about some key behavioural expectations – we will be working with students to support their behaviour through assemblies, House time and chapels. Some key areas for discussion at home could be:

  • Showing respect of one’s self, peers, teachers and parents
  • Being organised – having the right equipment for learning
  • Managing online behaviour
  • Behaviour in the yard such as rubbish disposal, language, and physical and verbal altercations
  • Time wasting and distraction
  • The importance of listening to the teacher and other staff
  • Being careful posting or sending photographs of themselves or others
  • Respecting others’ equipment
  • Avoiding doing things in class other than learning (especially online)
  • Posting of inappropriate material
  • Protecting their reputation
  • Practicing self-mediation – if you can’t say something nice, don’t say it at all
  • Not using phones during the day
  • Generally reducing screen time
  • Being an upstander if things are not right

I hope everyone has a wonderful second half of the term and look forward to all the great opportunities that present themselves for real-time learning and growth.

Michael Nelson
Head of Middle School