Anyone who says the last couple of weeks of Term 4 are relaxing are kidding themselves. I find that a certain delirium sets in, usually from about the middle of Week 6. At our school, Week 6 signals a flurry of activity that lasts until the very. last. day. Year 12 exams, Year 8 camp, Year 12 Graduation,Year 10 and 11 exams, Year 10 Australian Business Week, final assessments for Year 8s and 9s, reports, Spring Fling and Swimming Carnival…and then, breathe? This is all only by the end of Week 7, so not just yet. There’s still a week to go…
At my current school, only the Year 8s and 9s remain in the final week of the term. Teaching programs are over, reports are finalised, but there is a recognition that students need to remain engaged in relevant learning. An “Alternative Week” program is devised for the first three days of the week, kicking off with the Year 9 Graduation into the Senior School and followed by a day and a half of non-graded life-skill based lessons and a Project Day. Once again, the dedicated staff who have just wrapped up their teaching programs plan, run and supervise mini programs. This year I have been involved in the Project Day with the Year 8s and 9s from our House. We took a focus on Centacare, our chosen Catholic charity, and created soft toy bilbies for children accessing their wonderful playgroup service, ‘The Bilby Bus.” All well and good, except that sewing is not my forte…so I got to develop my own life-skills as well!
Thursday of Week 8 is House Day (excursions in House groups) followed by the final day (tomorrow – hooray!) tidying up odds and ends and concluding with a Christmas liturgy.
Add into this mix any final meetings and the End of Year Mass and Awards Ceremony, and you have an insane two and a half weeks.
Yet, despite the chaos and borderline craziness, there is something about this flurry of activity that is very rewarding. Working with students in an environment that is not dictated by subject area, staff members pitching in to help maintain one another’s sanity (one very kind colleague who CAN sew helped my class and I out all day) and seeing the pride in the faces of students, parents and teachers as kids accept awards for their hard work and amazing achievements. These moments bring together a sense of culmination and of achievement…that a year, which may well have been very challenging one, has turned out to be a successful one and one to be grateful for.