Dear Parents / Carers,
Friday was a very special day for our teachers. It was Australia’s World Teacher Day. Schools are now faced with the challenge of providing our students with a diverse range of learning experiences that will equip them with the multitude of skills required for life in an ever-changing environment. Teachers play a vital role in developing the social fabric of our society.
Teaching involves moral responsibility. Precious children are handed over to teachers every day. Teaching requires an investment of time, effort, energy and emotion paralleled only by parenting itself. During their career, a teacher will influence the lives of 22- 150 students every year, as long as they teach.
Teaching as a profession is undergoing a transformation from one where the teacher was the transmitter of knowledge, to a science where the teacher simultaneously links parts of a lesson and builds understanding of the curriculum whilst building ongoing relationships. It is complex work and it needs to be complex if we are to successfully prepare students to participate in a modern and complex society.
I thank our parents for the generous food and gifts for a special morning tea where we acknowledged the valuable contribution of our teachers.
The school will be closed on Tuesday 6 November for Melbourne Cup Day Public Holiday.
Have you noticed how everyone seems to suddenly in a hurry? It is almost the start of November and everyone starts to get impatient- on the roads- in the shops- everywhere! At this time of the year we often are faced with emotional situations involving students. As a school we work with students when they are feeling upset or hurt using an approach where we engage students in conversations and develop strategies for moving forward. This week’s newsletter contains some strategies that parents can use to help children to deal with their feelings in a way that raises emotional resilience.
Love and listen
Combining love and listening is truly a highly developed skill. Most of us love our children dearly and because of this, we frequently do not really listen and give them a chance to talk, sort through their feelings and come up with possible solutions. Instead, our love urges us to fix the problem for them so they can be released from the discomfort. We prematurely jump in with our wisdom and sage advice or even worse, take on the responsibility for something the child could handle himself and learn from. Work at being a great listener. When your child has something to say, focus on what he is saying and skilfully reflect back what he has said. This is a wonderful help for children wrestling with intense feelings. Your goal is to help your children process their feelings, not to fix their problems.
Distinguish between genuine and manipulative feelings.
Remember that not all feelings have equal value. It is common for parents to confuse how to respond to their children’s genuine feelings with how to respond to their children’s manipulative feelings. Just as adults do, sometimes children use their feelings to manipulate a situation. We hear these feelings when they say: “If you loved me you would.....” “You love her more than me.” “If I can’t go, I might as well die!” “I have the right to....” Manipulative feelings are best ignored or calmly confronted by telling your child you understand that he is upset, but hurting, whining and being emotionally demanding isn’t acceptable and will never help. We need to learn to tell the difference between children’s manipulative feelings and those that are truly genuine. Genuine feelings need to be attended to with love and ingenuity.
Learn the art of acknowledging upset feelings.
Trying to cheer up your child when he is hurting emotionally isn’t always helpful. Being upset or unhappy is a genuine human feeling. It is part of life and is experienced by all of us. The most helpful approach is to acknowledge how your child is feeling by recognising his upset or disappointment. Refrain from saying, Hey, it’s not such a big deal” or “Why get so upset about that?” Children need to know you are here to listen and understand. Their concerns are very real to them.
In practical terms, dealing with children’s upset feelings is really an art. On one hand, the more parents tell their children to “get over it,” the more their children don’t feel listened to and will tend to emotionally shut down or get louder. We all have experience the empty feeling of being dismissed and it doesn’t feel good!
On the other hand, we don’t like to see children in emotional pain. The spontaneous reaction to appease this pain might be to buy them gifts to cheer them up or to spend an excessive amount of time chatting and dissecting the issue. These of course, are poor strategies. They deflect children from learning to use their feelings productively and prevent them from setting up independent patterns of recovery.
Reference: Mark Le Messurier, Parenting Tough Kids
Just a friendly reminder that if parents have aspects related to their child’s learning that they would like us to consider when placing their child in a class group please write to me. Letters can be emailed to the school email address [email protected] or sent to the office addressed to me and marked confidential. Alternatively, I invite parents who would like to have a conversation about any aspect of grade placement for 2019 to make a time to have a conversation with either Mrs Bamford or me.
Please ensure that any correspondence relating to student placements reaches me by Monday 12 November 2018. I will inform teachers of any parent input prior to the formation of classes. We will be unable to consider any correspondence on this matter after this date.
The placement of children into class groups commences in the third week of November, once all assessments and reports have been completed. It needs to be noted that during a unit of work students may move into groups that include students other than those in their class to relearn, reinforce or extend their learning.