Starting High School
Starting high school can be daunting for any new Year 7 student. The top major concerns are often:
Finding, or losing, friends
Fitting in with peers
Navigating their way around the new school and getting lost
Having different teachers for different subjects
Homework and expectations
In an attempt to alleviate these concerns, all primary schools nowadays provide a primary-to-high school Transition or Orientation Day to help students become familiar with their new school. Students would have also attended an enrolment interview, or possibly visited an Open Day or Parent Information Session.
Having conversations with your child to help counsel perceived fears and feelings will also help, as well as coming up with a few personalised strategies to help cope. But once there and they’ve got the first few weeks under their belt, there are a few things that parents can do to help make life easier:
Understand the culture of the school. Know how it operates, its priorities, policies, and expectations, including homework, assessment, and grading systems.
Help develop organisational skills. In high school, there is less spoon-feeding and more expectation of independent work. If your child struggles to plan for, and get, assessment done on time, bringing the correct equipment, or even remembering to submit permission notes, then wall planners or diaries are a must.
Communication is king. Not just between your child and you, but also the parent and the teacher. Don’t hide in the shadows… talking, emailing, and swapping of info is crucial to getting the best out of their time there.
Encourage your child to get involved in the different activities available. Allow them to participate in activities like arts festivals, technology workshops, debating teams, and other clubs. Teenagers become more excited about high school if allowed to attempt and pursue multiple pathways.
Understand that there will be a lot of developmental changes. Emotional and physical changes will be the most obvious, and conversations need to be had, and boundaries need to be set. Getting enough sleep, eating correctly, and limiting social technology are critical, as too are those all-important ‘health and relationship’ talks.
However, if you find that your child has not settled in to high school as hoped, and you are seeing signs of apathetic involvement, reluctance in going to school, refusing to talk about school or friends, showing a decline in academic performance, becoming easily emotional, and losing confidence, then contacting their teacher, year-level coordinator, or counsellor is vitally important.