Welcome back to Term 2. Yesterday it was great to see students back on site following our teacher only day on Monday, and Anzac Day on Tuesday. Talking to some of our senior students it was pleasing that many took time to reconnect with family and friends during the Easter break, although some indicated that they had completely taken a break from school work and were feeling a little pressure being back at school. Taking time to refresh and reflect, and prepare for the term ahead is really important. Yes, finding and maintaining a balance is key, and something that I am sure many pursue each day to find.
This term the PPTA has planned industrial action, which was noted in last week’s return to school email. Regardless of what disruptions may lay ahead, and arguably we have seen how our young women are able to quickly adapt to changes, it is important that our young women reset their goals for the term ahead. At the assembly on Wednesday goal setting was discussed, with regards to us all having dreams and things we want to achieve, but without a plan and action, many dreams may just remain a wish.
Distractions were also discussed with regards to two that students can avoid, and that in many cases would also mean that their teachers’ time is not taken away from teaching and learning – uniform and phones.
Schools having a uniform is not a new thing for students, likewise students choosing not to wear it correctly is not a new thing. But school uniforms are important for a number of reasons:
- When all are in a school uniform, a sense of unity and community is formed.
- It identifies that those in the uniform are part of a community with shared vision and purpose.
- When everyone has the same uniform, inequity and inequality between those wearing it is reduced as all are on the same page with what they are wearing.
- It is one less distraction from learning – you don’t have to think about what to wear.
- For our school, our uniform is a point of pride, it identifies who our students are, and it also provides safety.
- For some, being in the same uniform as those around you can lead to an increase in confidence as visibly you are equal as what you wear is the same as others.
- A school uniform also provides a right of passage as there is a difference between the junior and senior uniforms.
On our school website it is clearly stated what our school uniform is, and what students can wear. What isn’t specifically written, and what is becoming a distraction, are students wearing more than one earring, or wearing large hoop earrings, facial piercings, coloured nail polish, and ‘heavy’ make up, particularly with regards to eye make up.
Mobile phones are another distraction. Students are permitted to have mobile phones at school, but again, as stated on the school website, they must remain on silent mode and are only to be used in class if the classroom teacher gives specific permission. The associated issues with mobile phones can be a huge distraction and issue for our young people, but it is not the phones that are the issue; it is the apps that our young people are engaging with, particularly social media apps. On our school network students cannot access these sites. If they do, it is through the access they have by accessing their individual data.
Two of our school values, justice and care, are clearly linked to students wearing their uniform correctly, and using their phones appropriately;
- Respecting the rights of others
- Working together to ensure equity for all
- Creating an inclusive environment
When it comes to these two distractions that can impact the learning and teaching in the classroom as teachers work with students to resolve issues around these, I ask that you support your daughter by reminding her to wear her uniform correctly, and discuss the use of her phone whilst at school. It has also been reported that students receive phone calls and messages from parents during class time. I ask here that you support your daughter, and her teachers, by avoiding distractions such as these.
Through our Mercy values and teachings, Catherine McAuley encourages us all to
Be as shining lamps giving light to all around you
As we begin Term 2 and quickly settle into routines following the term break, we look forward to a successful term for our young women as we support them with setting their goals, making a plan and putting it into action so that they continue to develop the knowledge and skills to be empowered young woman who will challenge and shape their future.