Welcome to Term 4.
This term is the last term at Primary School for our Year 6 and Year 7 students before moving on to Secondary School in 2022. There will be tears, laughter, worry and joy for all this term and we will work with the students to support them on this new life adventure.
Over the holiday break I engaged in the ACEL Conference – Leading Excellence through Equity, and came away inspired and informed.
The key aspects I’d like to share with you all is the learning about the impacts of COVID-19 on wellbeing and, although based on the experiences of Eastern States, it is all highly valid for us. I’m pretty sure that many of you would have noticed the change in the way others interact with you this year. I’ve certainly noticed a change when out and about – increased aggression on the roads, rude customers in stores, and, at school, an increase in aggressive adults and commentary rather than solution focussed interactions that most of us engage in.
One of the speakers at the conference was Kristen Douglas from headspace Schools. She spoke of the how prolonged disruption and disconnection can be as impactful as trauma, grief and loss.
Another speaker was Georgie Harman the CEO of Beyond Blue and she used the analogy of the ‘Corona-coaster’ which is a powerful image to describe the past 18+ months. Georgie also spoke about the impact of disruption and uncertainty and the hypervigilance that we are feeling as a result. People are in a near permanent state of fight or flight and are experiencing ‘fatigue on a cellular level’.
These are real and valid experiences and feelings. They are not reasons to treat anyone with disrespect or aggression. We are all dealing with this.
Our job is to flip the story and move from deficit thinking to a positive narrative. COVID-19 in some form is part of our world now and Georgie suggested developing a ‘new’ resilience through acceptance and building stronger, kinder and well connected communities.
As a school, we are somewhat limited as we follow the directions of the Department for Education. However, we are constantly looking at ways to engage families at some level. As the Principal, I am always watching the case numbers and restrictions. I constantly wrestle with thinking do we plan events to only cancel them if restrictions change or do we not plan any events at all. We miss the conversations and interactions that had become a valued part of our school community. There is hope that we can start bringing that back and increasing the involvement of our families again.
We are currently looking at some creative ways to celebrate student achievement in the Premier’s Reading Challenge so that families don’t miss out.
Things are going to be different in our world moving forward and rather than us moving apart, we plan on finding new and varies ways of coming together.
I hope that this has helped in some small way,
Take care and spread some kindness today,