My youngest son has recently started school. He is a bright eyed, excited and very eager Prep student! Through the careful guidance of his exemplary teacher and a little encouragement from us at home each night, he is slowly but surely beginning to recognise and decipher a range of words whilst learning to read. This is an amazing process to watch. When reading alongside my son, I find myself continually astounded by the remarkable leaps in learning that take place throughout the thirteen years of schooling from Prep to Year 12!
As both teachers and parents, it is easy to simply focus on the ‘here and now’ for students and our children. In doing this, it is all too easy to forget how each little bit of learning at school, and each personal experience, all slowly meld and mesh together to form the impressive young adults who walk across the Graduation stage upon the completion of Year 12. It is very fitting and meaningful to have all Christian College teaching staff at this significant event. There are so many teachers who have nurtured, who have encouraged, who have inspired, who have cared for, who have cried for, who have laughed with…..who have ‘taught’ our Year 12 Graduates. Of course, many parents of Year 12 students look forward to Graduation nearly as much as the students – and rightly so! For the parents of our Year 12 students, it is the end of a very big and busy year. Most parents have felt the anticipation of each SAC and exam, the elation or perhaps occasional disappointment of each result, and the confusion or concern for what lies ahead after school. One moment their child is completing their secondary education, and the next, they are stepping forward into further study at University or Tafe, travel or work, into the wide-open world outside of Christian College.
Year 12 can be a very difficult period for parents. It is only natural for parents to want to help their child through this big year. However, many parents are unsure about how they can best do this. Some parents proofread essays, and some students may request their parents to do this. Despite having relevant knowledge, skills, experience or expertise, there are many parents who find themselves shunned when offering to help their VCE child. Some students willingly seek and accept help from their parents, while others do not. Regardless, there are several ways parents can support their child during Year 12.
The most important advice for parents is to OPT IN: always ‘offer’ to help – in a practical sense and/or academically; ‘provide’ a suitable study space and environment at home; develop a ‘team’ approach to supporting your child; ‘invest’ in your relationship with your child; say ‘no’ when you need to; and ‘never’ compare your child to others.
While your assistance may not be always gratefully received, it is important for students to know that you are supporting them, that you are interested in what they are doing, and that you are keen to help in whatever way you can.
Reading relevant English texts and offering your support through discussion about the text is often extremely beneficial for students.
Offering to ‘quiz’ students or proofread essays (even just to address inaccurate spelling) can be a huge help for students.
As students near exams, offer to set the clock and time them while they are completing sample exams or specific exam questions.
Offer to organise special study breaks. Take your child out somewhere interesting or fun. This can be simple and need not be expensive. Use this time as a break from their studies, to reward them for their efforts thus far and encourage them to continue.
This does not mean that all families need to build a house extension with a new study! This simply means talking with your child about where in the house they would prefer to study and assisting them to organise the desired location. You might ensure they have a comfortable chair, minimal noise distractions, minimal distractions from technology, a calendar or diary, sufficient stationery, and a ready supply of healthy food, snacks (this may include chocolate), fresh cups of tea, coffee and hot chocolate, as desired.
You may also need to be assertive when it comes to assisting your child to manage their study space and environment. Be clear with siblings in relation to the sort of environment you have created and need to protect for the Year 12 student.
Develop a good relationship with your child’s teachers and work closely with these teachers throughout the year.
Let your child know that you are all in this together – with them.
Be prepared for a few hurdles or bumps along the way. When your child encounters one of these bumps, help them determine what they need to do to overcome the obstacle. As a part of their support team, be reassuring and offer practical advice.
Employ the assistance from other members of your child’s ‘team’, including teachers at school, as needed. Communicate with your child’s teachers via email, by phone or in person. Remember that your child’s teachers come a close second to you, in wanting the best possible outcomes for your child this year.
Remind your child of the many avenues for support available for them when they need it, both at school (including Year Level Coordinators, Deputy Heads of Campus, Head of Campus and Chaplains) and out of school.
Having a strong and healthy relationship with your child is always a good thing. It is especially important during Year 12. Students need to feel they can be honest with their parents when things are not going well, for one reason or another. They also need to be continuously reminded of their parents’ unflinching faith in them – no matter what.
Invest in your child’s relationship with God. Encourage your child’s faith. Assure them of their purpose and place in God’s world, regardless of their ATAR!
While it is always important to encourage your child to be accountable, independent, resilient and responsible for themselves, sometimes they will still need your help to make good choices. Sometimes your child will need you to say ‘no’ to going out on the weekend or ‘no’ to staying home from school to avoid a SAC.
Some Year 12 students are technically adults and the rest are not far from turning 18. However, sometimes during periods of stress, many students actually find it easier or preferable to have some parent directed structure and rules in their lives…for now at least.
Many students find themselves feeling quite stressed by trying to fit too much into their day/week. Some students will need your support to say ‘No’ to those extra shifts at work that may be offered during Swat Vac. They may also find the demands or expectations of friends, or outside organisations such as sporting clubs, to be difficult to manage in Year 12. Occasionally they might need to say ‘No’ to things and that is okay.
Comparing your child with an older sibling, a cousin, a neighbour or anyone else who completed Year 12, is not usually helpful. Sometimes students are inspired by the success stories of others, but they can feel disheartened or anxious when compared to somebody else who has already completed Year 12. Each Year 12 student and his or her story (past and future) is different.
Read the above and know that your parents and teachers will always do the best they can to support you in any way they can.
Seek expert advice. Whether it be in relation to careers and/or course advice when setting your goals for the year; spending extra time with your teachers, seeking help from a past student who did well in your subject, or attending subject lectures in Melbourne. Make sure you get out there and soak up all of the expert advice available to you.
Be honest and real with yourself, your parents and teachers. Make sure your goals are REAL and what YOU want. Let your parents and teachers know if you are struggling or need assistance in any way.
Set a study schedule. Share this with your parents so they know how and when you are studying. They can use your study schedule to support you and to help provide the sort of study environment you need. Get help to set a study schedule if you do not know how to do this.
Remember that you are what you eat, drink, and do. Eat well, drink water, exercise, find time to relax and pursue hobbies, maintain a healthy social life, and keep your time on social media to a minimum. You will never get back time spent on social media. However, you will get something back on time spent reading, walking, sleeping, and talking to a friend or family member face to face. Sleep well and get enough of it. Seek professional advice if this is a problem for you.
Know the difference between study and set homework. Do both.
Work out how you learn best and make sure that your efforts to study and ‘learn’ are effective. Do not falsely assure yourself that the quantity of time spent trying to study is always effective studying. Knowing how to effectively study and learn is a very important skill to develop for Year 12. If you need assistance with this, touch base with your Year Level Coordinator.
Remember that you only get out what you put in and the Year is what you decide to make of it. Most students need to work hard to do well in Year 12. There will be many highs, but there are also likely to be some challenges along the way. If you have worked hard and have been disappointed with some results, discuss this with your teacher or Coordinator. You may need to revise ‘how’ you study. Celebrate your successes!
The year goes quickly – start as you would like to go on. Be organised, prepared and focussed. You will need to make some sacrifices if you have specific goals to reach.
You can do this. You did not know how to read before Prep and look at you now!
‘From little things, big things grow.’
Year 12 Coordinator
< back to Focus Further