Dean of Students | Mr Damien Fall
Term 2 is a short term, unavoidably including a large amount of assessment and numerous interruptions.
On Monday night, we hosted over 120 mother/son couples at our Time & Space evening. This event was an opportunity for boys and their mums to engage in conversation at a level not usually possible. It also provided a chance for each to understand the Terrace journey from the perspective of the other. The ability of family members to empathize with each other enhances relationships at home, helping to make the journey as smooth as possible. I thank all our boys and mums who attended for embracing this opportunity, another of the important formation experiences available to our students.
Term 2 is a short term, unavoidably including a large amount of assessment and numerous interruptions. The reality of being a student in a school with high expectations during such a term is that there can be times when students become stressed and anxious. The topic of anxiety is an important one in the pastoral care of students. We know that some stress and anxiety is a good thing as they are part of life and can assist us to perform at our best. Keeping anxiety at an appropriate level is more important than completely protecting students from stressful situations. Below, I have included some tips for parents that research tells us can assist with managing anxious students and adolescents:
- Provide support and encouragement but don’t fuss too much
- Reward non-anxious behaviours
- Selectively ignore anxious behaviours and focus on positives instead
- Encourage risk-taking in small steps
- Provide opportunities for developing independence
- Allow them to safely experience the natural consequences of their anxiety
- Breathing exercises, music and appropriate physical activity
- Know who to ask for help – House Deans, College counsellors or health professionals
Phone apps including smiling mind, headspace and reach out are also contemporary tools that students find useful in managing their stress levels. Maintaining good lines of communication with our sons and looking for behaviours that differ from normal assist parents to know when our boys might be struggling.
This week, I have written to parents to communicate about two surveys we will be asking students to complete. One survey is anonymous and focusses on school culture in terms of matters such as relationships, while the other is an anonymous survey that explores the individual student’s wellbeing. The data we gather assists us in adjusting our pastoral care practices. As indicated in my letter, parents have the option to elect for their son to opt out of completing one or both of the surveys.
I congratulate our students on their commitment to their House Friendship Groups. This week, we are celebrating the efforts of campus ministry at Terrace and the boys’ commitment to service, especially within their Houses, is a key aspect of this.