It’s Hell Week in Australia. Week 7, Term 3 has been identified as the toughest week of the school year by researchers, so strap yourselves in folks!
Resilient Youth Australia has surveyed the wellbeing of 91,369 students in 600 communities across Australia and they say the results are clear; energy and motivation are lower in late Term 3.
Why is it so awful?
Well, it’s cold and there hasn’t been a lot of opportunities to get outside in this particularly rainy winter. It’s been a long time since there has been a holiday break and the end of term is too far away to dream about. Kids and teachers are all tired and getting a bit ragged and on edge.
It’s been one of the worst flu seasons we’ve experienced in Australia ever. Add to that all the random bugs and lurgies going around and it’s easy to see why many kids, parents and teachers are running on empty. It’s the making of the perfect storm.
For senior students, we are getting very close to final exams. They are just weeks away and the pressure is on. There is no doubt parents carry a lot of that stress too. And you can’t win, they want your help, but then they don’t want your help…push and pull. If you want positive, practical strategies to support your child through final exams, have a read of this article.
So how do we make Hell Week into Highlight Week?
Psychologist, Andrew Fuller, recommends creating a ‘ritual of celebration’ sometime this week for kids. Give them something to look forward to. It might be a family games night, ice-cream after school on Wednesday, a family movie or whatever your happy family rituals might be. Rituals bind us and give us a sense of purpose and resilience. This week is a great excuse to introduce a new one.
It’s a good week for a progress report for your kids. Not one that looks at grades and schoolwork, but one that celebrates all the good things they are doing as a human being. Nothing gives kids a boost like some honest, affirming feedback from someone they love, especially if it is a bit humorous and playful.
This little example was a big hit on twitter when Shane Jackson (@ShaneJacks) decided his daughter needed a lift when she was struggling at school.
It might be nice to send an encouraging note to teachers too. Just a thought.
Good luck everyone. Be especially kind to one another this week!
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Linda Stade has worked in various teaching and management roles in education for twenty-five years. She has worked in government and private schools, country and city, single-sex and co-ed. Currently, she is a writer, speaker and consultant in Western Australia. You can find out more about her work here.