As we storm to the finish line next week, I wonder how many of us take stock of what 2017 has thrown at us – and what we have achieved. It has been a massive year personally, so much happening in my own world and lots to celebrate with my family and friends. There has also been adversary, challenge, and times of being overwhelmed and frustrated.
School life replicates life in general. For our young stars it is demanding, has its difficulties, new opportunities open up while doors also close. There is a quest to achieve and meet the goals set. There is failure and rejection but also wins and triumphs. It is non-stop and exhausting.
Reflection is part of improvement but what barometer are we using to measure success? Are students using their reports or exam results? Are they looking at their achievements on the sporting field or musical stage? Are they thinking about their social worlds, the number of friendships established or broken, or are they considering how much they saved from their part time jobs or the number of awards won?
On the other hand, is their measurement of how the year went based on things like the amount of service they provided others, the level of gratitude and kindness they showed, the effort and determination they delivered in every pursuit? Did they grow as people? Are they a better person now than they were at the start of the year and now making better choices about their life and how best to make it full and flourishing.
You can evaluate and take stock based on a set of measurements that others set for you. You can also consider where you sit in the scheme of things by setting your own social and emotional agenda. This is much harder to do and will only happen if time is taken out of the chaos and busyness of the school week to really think deeply about life and what’s important. It really helps to have those discussions with others that are not just about what boxes have been ticked, but who we are as people and who we strive to be.
I reckon we solicit those type of conversations well at this school. The good news is that we aim to do it even more next year with some of the changes being planned. To provide the scaffolding for young people to take stock using an agenda, which is about being a better person, and making a positive difference to others, has to be on every school’s planning map.
Over the Christmas break, I encourage all people in our school community to not only take stock well, but to also have a peaceful and fun break. From one exhausted family to another, all the best over the festive season.
Head of Senior School and Deputy Principal