Greetings from the messy desk of the Head of Year 7. Last semester was a busy one and went by so quickly! I think it’s fair to say that all of our lovely Year 7’s are feeling a bit more settled now, but the realities of secondary school have set in for some.
I know some students had a few hiccups last term with their organisational skills. This is normal at this stage as students are still getting used to the ways in which we work in Secondary school. Some students have found it challenging to plan for long-term assignments which results in what I call “Last Minute Larry”. This creates stress for our students (and parents alike!) This term, we will be focussing on organisation and long-term planning. During Week 8 of last term, Mrs Pamela Dusting, our Secondary School Psychologist and Counselor, delivered a session to the Year 7’s on how to prioritise tasks for on-going assignments. This week we will have a group planning session to map out (and break down) assignments in more workable chunks. I encourage all students to speak with me or their homeroom tutor should they need support in their planning.
I have also spoken to the Heads of Department about deadlines and being aware of when there are several deadlines for multiple subjects in a week. Students should receive no more than 20 minutes of homework, per subject, per night. This 20 minutes includes on-going assignments so if there is a future deadline, 20 minutes should still be allocated (this causes confusion as a student may write down ‘no homework’ in their planner for the night, but there may be a deadline in a few weeks time they are working towards). We want to avoid spending hours at a weekend on one assignment because of a close deadline. The key is to plan ahead!
Another focus during this semester is positive relationships and positive actions. It is important to me that we create a cohesive and supportive community because students cannot flourish if they are not confident and happy. We will be working on developing empathy for others and self awareness in actions.
On that note, I have had discussions with Year 7 regarding use of social media and the feelings of others. Particularly I want students and parents to be aware of how WhatsApp groups are being used. In this day and age, it is unreasonable to ban the use of technology; it is something our students will be using for the rest our their lives. However, it is important to use it responsibly and we are working on that.
Use of social media usage is an agreement that must be made between parents and children. However, I have a few rules about it within the school community context:
- Never take photos of people without their permission; if someone does not want their photo taken you must respect that.
- Never post media (photos, video, etc.) of other people without their permission.
- Respect boundaries between staff and students.
This term we will also be piloting Google’s “Be Internet Awesome” programme, which teaches students digital citizenship and internet safety through games. You can check out the trailer for the programme here: beinternetawesome.withgoogle.com.
There are so many awesome things Year 7 got up to last term! I keep all of our media from our fun activities on a shared media drive for the students. Please ask your child to talk you through a slideshow of our adventures! I try to give students leadership positions whenever possible, so many of the activities we do are planned and presented by students as well. (This means we had a particularly fun and weird Year 7 party at the end of last term!)
The Year 7 team is always happy to support you and your child so please never hesitate to get in contact should you have any questions. I hope to see you at the morning tea next week.
I will leave you with a piece written by Ines Freyre in 7E. We have several new students this year and it is always difficult moving to a new school (and a new place for some!) In the spirit of empathy, Ines wrote a piece on what it is like to be new to Hong Kong from students’ point of view.
Hong Kong as a new student
By Ines Freyre, 7H
Stepping off a plane two years ago into the famous red Hong Kong cabs — a suitcase and backpack in hand — was daunting at first as I was faced to a new city that I was required to call home.
After the initial shock to the system from the mix of 30 plus degrees, 98 per cent humidity, typhoons and ‘black’ rain, Hong Kong eventually became home. With a supporting community in and out of school, it becomes easy to adapt to the urban lifestyle and environment.
Hong Kong is a vibrant, exciting city—a stark contrast between Asian and Western traditions, yet both cultures also combine to make the city the dynamic place it is. While many positives surround this area, Hong Kong can be overwhelming at first. The city has the most skyscrapers in the world — boasting more than 6500 buildings over 150 metres tall. Its population is around 7 million people, and it is one of the world’s leading financial and business centres.
Being an International school with students that come and go all year around, AISHK is prone to both happiness and distress, as students coming from places like Australia or Europe can experience unhappiness and fearful emotions when faced to such a different environment. Climate, pollution, housing costs and food costs are just some of the most interesting, challenging and different parts about living in Hong Kong compared to Australia and the rest of the world.
“I think that while Hong Kong has many negative aspects, such as the overpopulation in such a tight space and vertically built up landscape, its various features both in and out of the city make it interesting coming from a suburban household” – Juliana Costello, 7W
“The transportation services are great and provide an effortless and easy way to get around the city in a short amount of time. The vast choice of traditional Asian delicacies are also available in Hong Kong, giving it a very multicultural sensation that differentiates it from other places” – Jorge Cooney, 7E
While most people see Hong Kong as the skyline of lights, the city is surrounded by some of the most awe-inspiring hiking treks, stunning blue seas and secluded beaches. This combination of fast-paced city lifestyle and the ability to be alone on white sandy beaches or steep rocky mountains brings satisfaction and contentment, as while school and work can be overwhelming, Hong Kong’s many facilities and attractions will captivate you and make you forget about the long week ahead.
Christina Carini | Design Teacher, Head of Year 7