Dear Parents and Caregivers I hope you and your family have remained safe and dry…
Kia ora te whanau o te kotuku
The shorter days have worked really well while we have navigated our way through what we hope is the peak of Omicron, the extreme heat of the afternoons, and the impact that this has on students and staff when they are wearing masks for up to six hours a day. The attitude across the board and the work ethic have been excellent.
We are therefore going to extend the finishing time of 1.30pm for next week. An increased number of staff and students are returning to school and the way we are tracking we should be back close to 85%+ attendance for both by the week beginning Monday, 28 March. Of those who have already returned a number are indicating brain fog and are struggling to get through the day. For those that are experiencing this but keep turning up, I encourage you to persevere wherever you can.
My key assembly message this week to all year levels has been that teaching requires a learner but the learning does not necessarily require a teacher. When the guitar teacher shows a new rift, the student needs to watch and then practice. This practice will include failure because if it is to be authentic learning it must come with a level of challenge. In other words, something you can’t do yet.
The art teacher displays brush techniques, food technology instructs how to make pastry, the maths teacher how to solve simultaneous equations or English writing techniques the process is the same. The teaching may have occurred but the learning happens when the learner practices. The learners 50% is to firstly concentrate on the instruction and then to practice what they can’t do yet. The teaching is only the first part of the learning process. So the expectation is that although students may not be in school after 1.25pm, they can and should go home, have a break, mask off, get a glass of water beside them and continue consolidating their learning by doing something extra.
I believe that the best attitude to bring to the learning is that it is something that I cannot do yet. If someone else can then it is likely they have had prior experience and chances to learn that already. If we compare ourselves to that and believe it’s about talent and not hard work, then we will be defeated. The performance of someone who is highly skilled is the part of the iceberg that sits above the surface. The social media highlights reel. What most people will not be aware of, or have seen is the hard work that provided the foundation for this high-level performance. The largest part of the iceberg sits below the surface. People were not born good or great, they worked hard to get there.
The first thing we need to learn is to accept failure as part of the learning process. For real progress to be made this growth mindset must be learned first.
The following article regarding Long COVID was recently shared with me and I think it is important we stay mindful of this as it starts to look like the peak may be behind us.
“It is important to recognise the signs of an incomplete recovery. The most common being breathlessness, cough, fatigue, headaches, racing heart and general aches and pains. Symptoms may also manifest differently in children and may be more difficult to spot. Children often complain of tiredness, sore tummy, headaches and aches and pains. When experiencing these symptoms, it is important to rest and not “push through”. It is incredibly important to avoid Graded Exercise Therapy (GET) – or any over exertion or stressors too soon, as this may exacerbate symptoms and cause further damage. Long Covid is not the result of deconditioning, and this is now deemed harmful.
If your normally very active son or daughter is not quite back to their usual selves, this may be something you can read and share with them so that they can have a sense of why that is.
“Take care of our children, take care of what they hear, take care of what they see, take care of what they feel. For how the children grow will be the shape of Aotearoa.” ~ Dame Whina Cooper