Introducing The Campus, helping to keep our community engaged and connected. Visit community.soc.tas.edu.au.
We arrive at Easter after what has been an extraordinary period in everyone’s lives.
Personally, I am reminded of the stories my parents told me of the Great Depression and World War II, when everyone’s lives were turned upside down and individuals, families, communities and countries the world over had to adjust to a ‘new normal’. Similarly, over the past four weeks, we have had to adjust to our new and confronting way of life and with changing daily directives that vary from state to state, it has definitely been a surreal lesson in adaptability and resilience. Having said that, I am just so immensely proud of how the Scotch Oakburn College students, teachers, parents and families have risen to these challenges and supported one other to ensure that we continue to thrive. It has been humbling to be a part of such a united approach.
Perhaps I am feeling sentimental but my parents were also known to repeat the adage ‘necessity is the mother of invention’, and there is no doubt that the urgent need to find ways to maintain ‘doing and providing’ those things that matter most, has been a catalyst for our creativity, agility and problem-solving at Scotch Oakburn over the past month. Those of us with an eye to the future have seen aspects of education and the College’s operations (that we had thought may exist to some extent in the future) come to full fruition virtually overnight.
Collectively, my colleagues have contributed thousands of hours to learning online delivery programs, converting face-to-face lessons to online formats, and researching and testing suitable curriculum options that support Australian Curriculum requirements. We have all had to grow laterally, intellectually and emotionally, but most importantly we have done it as a team.
Three weeks ago I told my colleagues how proud I was to be a member of this College staff, seeing how positively and proactively they attacked the problems that were thrust upon them: those of providing the e-learning program for our students, working remotely, and adjusting to a school without the physical presence of students. I echo that sentiment again now. All our staff members have been inspirational. Operationally, our non-teaching staff and especially our IT staff have also carried a huge burden and I thank them for the many extra hours and expertise they have extended the College to ensure the way forward has been, and will continue to be, as smooth and equitable as possible.
The College’s Board of Directors has also shown great courage, listening to the Executive, rigorously testing proposals and rationale, making sure that we stay true to our College Values and purpose, and helping to shoulder the responsibility of the major decisions throughout this crisis. I thank them for the considerable time they have extended the College when they have much on their own plates already.
Finally, I would like to thank our extended College community, which has demonstrated overwhelming support for the College’s early actions and has shown an incredible commitment to the continuity of our children’s education together with boundless compassion through their willingness to step up and help one another in all manner of ways.
As has been the case in history, we will emerge on the other side of this pandemic and we will have evolved and grown and learned much both personally and professionally. Significantly, on the other side we will re-evaluate what is most important in our lives, the many small freedoms we have taken for granted, and the relationships that are at the heart of what matters to us all. This crisis will end and when we are back at school and the grounds are again teeming with students, sports, performances, and face-to-face learning and laughter, I am sure that our Scotch Oakburn College community will be even more closely-knit than ever.
To all in our special College community and beyond, I implore you to look after each other, stay well, stay connected, and have a safe Easter; and importantly, if you have worries or concerns about your children, their wellbeing or their learning, or any other matter, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Virtual Parent Student Teacher Conferences (Year 8-12) Monday 27 April
On Tuesday, parents were emailed a Progress Report for Term One for their son or daughter. Due to the current restrictions in place, face-to-face parent/student/teacher interviews are no longer possible and the College is offering a choice of:
A Microsoft Teams video conference (these will take place on the scheduled day of Monday 27 April)
An email from the teacher providing thorough feedback on the progress of your son/daughter
A phone call from the teacher
A link has been sent to all parents to allow them to choose an option for each teacher. After doing this, parents will be re-directed to a booking system if a Microsoft Teams virtual meeting is required.
Deputy Principal / Head of Senior School
End of Term
Thank you to every member of the College community for the amazing support of student learning and family well-being over the latter half of a school term that has yielded challenges like no other in our lifetime. Compassion, creativity, collaboration and many other dispositions and personal attributes that we talk about and seek to develop among our students of all ages have been at the forefront as we strive to ensure the best possible stability of learning, good health and personal wellbeing for students, families and staff at the College along with our wider local community.
As we move into the school holiday period at a time when social distancing for all, and social isolation for some, continue to be such critical factors in shepherding us all towards a return to school, work and life we knew as normal such a short time ago, our connectedness, sense of belonging and mutual support are more important than ever.
Over the holiday period, Junior School students are encouraged to maintain social contacts with their friends via the video, audio and text modes that we are so lucky to have available to us. One avenue for this is MS Teams via The Dash, just as teacher-student-class learning interactions have been happening for the last month. All families across Years 1-5 will now have received the invitation to use this for individual or small group social contacts during the holidays, together with the guidelines around this use.
The Campus, the new community link on the College website, has been created to provide all families with an incredible range of ideas and resources for holiday activities as well. There is something there for anybody looking for prompts when at a loose end!
One more! For Junior Student students looking for a good book to read, the Overdrive elibrary catalogue (found via the conneXions page on The Dash) has been expanded and has a wonderful range of books for all age groups.
Best wishes to all students, families and staff for a happy Easter, albeit framed around social distancing, and a school holiday that brings some downtime among all else around us. We look forward to sharing holiday news and stories when Term 2 SOC@Home commences on Monday 27 April for all Early Learning – Year 5 students.
Head of Junior School
Reading – Term 2
The central importance of literacy learning, and in particular, reading, continues to be a focal point of learning programs across the Junior School. To support this in our current SOC@Home environment, online levelled reading book resources are being significantly increased from the beginning of Term 2. This is for every student in Prep, Year 1 and Year 2, as well as those in Years 3 and 4 receiving additional support with the development of independent reading skills. Alongside this, access to Lexia, a targeted Reading support program for individual students at different year levels, has also been increased markedly.
Class and Literacy Teachers at each year level, and Learning Support teachers and Learning Assistants, continue to monitor closely the reading progress of every student from the emerging readers in the Early Primary years who are learning to read, through the transition to ‘reading to learn’ across the Primary years.
Head of Junior School
On Wednesday, the TCE Chinese class had summative Term 1 oral tests via Teams.
Each student spoke fluently in Chinese for around 7 minutes; an impressive effort! They all did an exceptional job and it really highlighted for me the way that these students have handled the transition to online learning.
Well done students of TCE Chinese!
Head of LOTE
Author: Michael Grose
The current social isolation policy as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has confined people to their family cocoons. Life for parents is very different now that we can no longer share the parenting load with relatives, friends and professionals outside the family home.
Parenting success will require you to quickly adapt to new circumstances, by replacing some of your current parenting practices with methods more in tune with close-quarter living. This may seem uncomfortable at first, as you may be going against some current beliefs that are in vogue. In effect, you may have to create a new parenting playbook suited to your family’s needs, rather than being dictated by ‘groupthink’ that social media encourages.
As a way of helping with this process, I’ve examined four common parenting rules of thumb, and replaced each with a new, more appropriate rule.
Current rule: Put your kids first
Current parenting practices place children before parents in many aspects of life. The tendency to put our own personal lives on hold for the duration of their childhood while we cater for children’s after school activities is an obvious example. Nothing wrong with wanting the best for our kids, but it needs to be questioned if it comes at the cost of a parent’s quality of life.
Try instead: Put yourself first
Most parents know the importance of self-care but fail to put it into practice. Make yourself a priority and attend to your own physical and mental health and personal happiness. Practise the good care habits that we encourage in kids – eat well, sleep well, get plenty of exercise, take regular time out and ensure you do something each day that brings you joy. It takes a great deal of selflessness to be a parent. Finding ways to prioritise ourselves can actually make us even better at it.
Current rule: Focus on individual good
The shift to smaller families has brought about a shift in focus from parenting the gang to parenting each child individually. This shows in everyday activities such as individually-designed meals for each child and paying children for completing chores. The propensity to focus on individual needs often comes at the expense of the family good, which is evident when difficult times arise.
Try instead: Focus on greater good
Alfred Adler, the father of Individual Psychology believed that children’s moral development is fostered in full when they contribute to the wellbeing and functioning of the family. It’s a ‘we’ before ‘me’ concept. When children are living in close proximity with each other for long lengths of time it’s essential for them to consider the needs of others as well as their own needs. “How does my behaviour impact on others? How can I help? How can I ease the load?” become the prime consideration for all family members.
Current rule: Parents are responsible
The responsibility in many families falls to parents to resolve most problems, even if they are owned by kids. If a child leaves a lunch at home, often a well-meaning parent will take it school. A child’s friendship issue is resolved by parents. Conflict with a sibling? Mum or dad will sort it out. The propensity for parents to take responsibility for what are essentially children’s problems is exhausting (for parents) and leads to unprecedented levels of parental guilt when children are unhappy. Yes, we even tend to take responsibility for their individual happiness.
Try instead: Children are responsible
The current social isolation measures mean it’s almost impossible for a parent to sort out all of a child’s problems. “That’s your problem. Please work it out yourself” is the mantra for close-quarter living you can apply to many situations such as boredom, hunger and dealing with noisy siblings. At times of children’s high need during social isolation caused by COVID-19, I suggest that you make yourself scarce, emerging only when you know kids have tried and failed to resolve their own problems.
Current rule: Get their compliance
Most of the current child and adolescent management techniques are built around compliance. “How can I get my kids to do as I wish?” still dominates much of the current parenting narrative, reflecting old practices when children were seen and not heard, and corporal punishment was in vogue. These methods are not suitable for getting kids onside on the family cocoon.
New rule: Win their cooperation
Some time in recent years the management narrative shifted from getting compliance to gaining cooperation from kids. This shift requires a change in mindset, behaviour and language from parents. The language of compliance (“I want you to do this!”) still has a place in family-life albeit very minor, however the language of cooperation (“I need this done.”) in all its forms represents this essential shift in management mindset that is required in the current circumstances.
The new circumstances we find ourselves in due to COVID-19 while daunting at first glance, offer an opportunity to revisit old habits, principles and rules in all areas of life, including your parenting. It’s human nature to feel comfortable with old ways even if they are not working for us. Sometimes it takes a crisis such as the one we are all experiencing to examine old habits, principles and rules to see if they are suitable. If they are not, then its time to create a new rulebook.
Wellbeing Coordinator / Registered Psychologist
On Thursday 9 April the College will be posting home books to students.
Year 7 will receive A Long Walk to Water ready to Term 2
Year 9 will receive Of Mice and Men ready for Term 2
These books are set texts for English classes. The loan period will be for as long as the English course requires.
Last week we posted out the following:
The Wave for Ms Poynter’s and Ms Lester’s Year 10
To Kill a Mockingbird for Mr Hughes’ Year 10
Various titles for Year 6 literature circles.
If you believe you should have received a text and it does not arrive, please let us know.
The loan period for the Year 10 books is until Term 4, and the Year 6 literature circle books are due back at the start of Term 3.
If returning the books by post, please use a padded post bag in good condition. There will be no postage to pay if you use the “Reply Paid” address label included in your package. Last week’s mailing did not have a “Reply Paid” address label included, as these will be posted out closer to the date due if needed.
There will be further mail-outs of course materials for other courses in Term 2. Any instructions will be enclosed.
If anyone has any queries, please email Library@soc.tas.edu.au and we will get back to you at the start of Term 2.