During School assemblies next week, we will pause and reflect on the semester. We will discuss goal setting, achievements and regrets, and an articulation of the many paths we take towards success and fulfilment. The last 12 to 18 months have been a roller coaster of opportunity and disappointment, and we have learned and shared so much together. The thought of change is landing more lightly, conversations are more divergent than convergent, and we are more tolerant of new ideas.
At the start of this semester, I introduced the concept of the personal best (PB) as our theme for personal growth to the Junior School students and the Senior School Students.
In assessment, in sport and in vying for leadership, we are taught to go for the top-ranked positions. For some, this fierce competition is energising and for others it is exhausting. It is not enough to be good; we have to be better than everyone else. This implies there is not enough success to go around. Perceiving success as a zero-sum game limits a young person’s understanding of their potential.
At the start of the semester, students were encouraged to value themselves, to ‘run their own race’, and to trial the PB concept. PBs refocus the child’s attention to improving himself or herself compared to the person they were yesterday, or last week or even last year. PB goals are effective because they maintain the energising properties of competition (against oneself), they reduce the counterproductive effects of obsessive comparison with others, they motivate the young person to close the gap between where they are now and where they want to be, and they are accessible to all.
As the semester draws to a close, we are encouraging the students to celebrate. Moments of celebration remind us just how far we have come, and re-energises students to look ahead and plan the next steps. The students are encouraged to celebrate their strengths and their effort, thank those who assisted them to achieve their goals, and of course to acknowledge the milestones and the victories.
You might remember I have talked before about the ingredients to support a happy child. The basic ingredients that allow children to thrive for a majority of their lives are sleep, diet, exercise, social interactions and challenge with choice. An emerging ingredient is the ability of a young person to run their own race, recall their PBs and remember there is enough success to go around.
Mrs Anna Owen