As the School term enters into Week 8, the firmly established rhythm and routine of daily school life is apparent. Students are well accustomed to their timetables – the new structure of one hour period lengths, teachers, homework, study, training, rehearsals and the myriad of other activities that are “school-life”. This busyness is not only apparent for students and staff, but of course parents.
This busyness is a result of the opportunities available to our students to learn and to extend themselves, both in the classroom and beyond. The challenge for every student, is to continue to build upon this good start by remaining organised, diligent and persistent. Such good habits enable the girls to cope with their demanding schedules.
It is also true that some girls struggle with adjusting to the rhythm and routine, even in a great school like NEGS. Where this is the case, I would encourage parents to work with relevant staff to work through these issues in support of your daughter. Collaboratively we make a difference.
As our term is drawing to a close, so much still has to be done, least of which are the Yr 12 Mid-Course Examinations. Now is the time for the girls to step up to the challenge of being prepared and not having any regrets over the “would’ve; could’ve; should’ve”. They are the captains of their destiny.
At this opportune time, I would like to share with you all a letter penned by Dr Wayne Tinsey, expanding upon the topic of liberating education through “opening hearts and minds through quality teaching and learning experiences”. While it was directed to staff in schools there are ideas also worthy of consideration in our roles as parents and carers:
“Recently I had the privilege of meeting with student leaders for 2017 at their gathering in Sydney. What an extraordinary group of young people! We had the opportunity to discuss ideas on leadership as well as reflect on what a liberating education means for them.
These young people, and the thousands of others we educate, have inspired me to offer the following thoughts about how we educate for liberation. What lessons must the young learn if they are to be really free and fully alive human beings? May their education not simply teach our students how to earn a living, but also how to live full lives, replete with meaning and purpose.
Help your students to see through the empty promises of a sometimes shallow, materialist society and its offer of happiness through things and material possessions. Persuade your students to reject versions of the world that define success solely in terms of money, accumulation of things and over-emphasis on status and security. Skill them to critique our culture and its version of what constitutes the good, the well lived, the important and the meaningful life.
Help them to understand that not everything of true value in life can be measured. May the education we offer help free the young from unexamined opinions and inherited prejudices. Yes, may their education help them to judge and interpret, but also realise that sometimes the only appropriate response to our world’s beauty and grandeur is simply wonder and awe.
Remind your students that true happiness is found through service to others and abides in an open and compassionate heart.
Urge the young to accept our Gospel’s claims about the way in which human beings should engage in our world, about justice, about the way in which we are expected to relate to one another, and about the dignity of every human life. Help them to realise that, in the end, it is not what we have done in our lives that is of ultimate importance. Rather, it is whether or not anything we have done was really worth doing. Did it make a positive difference in the lives of others?
Convince your students that they must use their unique gifts, study hard and always give their best. Yes, they must aim high, but also know that the results they receive at the end of the year do not define or limit them. Teach them that a truly meaningful life is built upon simple acts of decency and kindness which add up to something truly great over the course of a lifetime. They must know that excellence is a habit, a learned art, not an isolated act.”
What more needs to be said?