DR RACHEL HORTON
Year 12 for most students is the pinnacle of school life, a year of hard work and the inevitable pressure of exams, but also a year of final experiences and memories of school that are treasured long after leaving. At TAS our students were lucky enough this year to start with a relatively normal six months, but this term things have changed unexpectedly for them with a return to online learning and now the goalposts of the HSC have suddenly been moved to later in the year.
It seems appropriate that School Counsellor, Mrs Alix Goudge, has written an article on Stoicism this week. Jack Clarkson, who spoke to the Year 12s last week experienced similar disappointments and changes in his Year 12 last year with online learning, assessments and a delayed VCE. He advised our students to do what they can to concentrate on controlling the controllables. Essentially referencing the Stoic practice of the Dichotomy of Control. Alix’s article below is relevant to everyone, and I would encourage you to read it to gain a further understanding.
While this is a difficult time for our Year 12s, there is no doubt in my mind that their support for each other, their resilience and determination will see them through. We are extremely proud of the way they have adapted to online assessment for their trial exams. Although, as is the way this year, we cannot have any firm expectations, we are hopeful that lockdown will lift in Armidale and allow us to have all students back on campus in Term 4. For our Year 12 cohort, this will allow them to see their teachers again for face-to-face guidance, advice and farewells, to see each other again and to have some of those final experiences, and for the School to celebrate and farewell them as they deserve before the final challenge of the HSC.
Dr Rachel Horton
MR RICHARD NEWTON
MR LUKE POLSON
Students in Year 10 have been emailed Subject Lines for 2022, as well as the online form for them to complete their subject selections. Students have until Week 1 of Term 4 to complete this. If students have questions about their choices, they can seek advice from Mr Mark Taylor (Careers Advisor) or by making a time to speak with me (email@example.com). I am available to talk to Year 10 students from Wednesday 8 September. A link to the Stage 6 Handbook is below, as is a copy of the Stage 6 Lines for 2022.Stage 6 Handbook
Year 11 Subject Lines
Please access the website for Stage 5 Electives here: https://publications.as.edu.au/year-8-into-9-subject-selection/ This website contains all the necessary information for students and families to make their initial selections for electives in Year 8 and 9, 2022. This website contains the Subject Handbook for Stage 5 Electives as well as a recorded copy of the presentation held on Zoom last week. Students in Years 8 and 9 have been emailed a link to complete their initial preferences online through Edval. This form needs to be completed by Friday 10 September. In Week 9 of this term, students and families will be provided with a copy of the final subject lines for 2022 and invited to make their final choices by the end of Week 1, Term 4.
Several students have registered for ICAS assessments that we have not been able to sit due to the online learning period. We have been advised by ICAS that there will be an additional competition window for students to sit papers in October (Term 4). Any students who have already registered for these papers now will be automatically transferred to the next window.
MR ANDREW O'CONNELL
Last week a delegation of six students attended an online conference run by The Doon School in India. They explored the theme of ‘Democracy: Fuelling Future Development’ over the three-hour digital conference, hearing from a keynote speaker and then discussing ideas in busy Barraza groups. It was a very late night for the Australians, with the conference running from 9pm until almost 1am, and their reports can be found below.
Bella Lucas: “It was a great opportunity to get to know each other in small groups. After talking for about 30 minutes we all went back to the main session where we listened to keynote speaker, KP Krishnan, who expanded more on democracy and how he views it. We then went back to our Barazza groups to talk about what had been said and then we finished up the conference with summaries of what everyone talked about with their Barazza. Overall it was a great experience to meet different people from all over the world and listen to all the different views people had.”
MRS ALIX GOUDGE
“I too have had to adapt my working arrangements since lockdown and am now working from home. Being a working dog, things have changed quite a bit for me. Rather than providing you comfort and entertainment on the school campus, I have been considering the best way to connect with you all, and what better way than through TAS Talks. So during lockdown, I will write a weekly column to share some doggo wisdom with you.
Being at home these past few weeks has given me time to paws (pun intended) and reflect on the situation we are in and I was wondering what good advice I can share with you about coping with uncertainty and change. That got me thinking about Epictetus the ancient Greek philosopher who is best known for his work on Stoicism.
Like many others, I had thought that Stoic Philosophy was mainly for uncertain times, and so it was that as this pandemic continues it has brought me to look into this further. What I have found is that far from being a philosophy for a world in turmoil, Stoicism is for the everyday. At its core, it aims to help individuals cultivate a strong moral character and clear-headedness, qualities that also happen to prove invaluable during times of crisis. Indeed the Stoics have taught us, for a couple of millennia now, that crises happen, and a crisis is simply what you judge to be an unexpected bad thing – so it doesn’t have to be as large as a pandemic, it could be ill health, a relationship break up, or something like dropping and breaking your phone.
I’m going to summarise the theory here and here is a link https://dailystoic.com/what-is-stoicism-a-definition-3-stoic-exercises-to-get-you-started/ to further information for those who’d like to take a closer look.
Stoicism is made up of two pillars:
Epictetus says that if we worry about things we can’t change, we are wasting our energies. If we imagine that we can control the past or future — or even pandemics — we are setting ourselves up for disappointment, frustration and perhaps distress.
What this means, is that we need to internalise our goals, not to worry about the outcomes because those are outside of our control. We need to focus on our effort and intentions because they are very much within our control. Stoics use a metaphor of an archer – you can practice for hours and hours, you can get the best bow and arrows you can afford and take care of them, you can focus and practice focusing, but once you let that arrow go, what happens next is outside of your control. A gust of wind can come and blow the arrow off course, the target might move and you miss. So what do you do? The actual hitting of the mark is chosen, but not desired. Your intention was to hit the mark but you do not attach your own self-esteem to the outcome, you only attach it to what’s under your control, to your attempt.
The goal is not to reach perfection, whatever that is, it’s just to be the best you can. The 4 cardinal virtues are considered to be the qualities essential to leading a full human life.
Stoicism is all about living our life according to human nature – we are social creatures, so whilst we can exist alone if we need to, we do better within a community, and as humans, we have the ability for reason. This doesn’t mean that we are always reasonable, actually, we often struggle with that, but it means we care capable of reason. The Stoics believe that to live the best human life we need to apply reason and intelligence to improve social living for all people. We come with power because we can make choices, so we need to make the best possible choices. You will find if you apply these principles, you will be doing less, but doing it better, which will lead to a happier and more balanced life.
If there are topics or ideas you would like me to explore in this column, please email my human helper at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know.”
Mrs Alix Goudge
MR HUON BARRETT
The beginning of a new season reminds us of the inevitability and importance of change. Spring is here and there is much to look forward to. The days are slowly warming up and the great outdoors is a lot more inviting. I have been encouraged to see and hear how students are keeping active. Bike riding remains a popular pursuit, many TAS students have graced the Golf Course and there are those who are participating in the TAS 20 Challenge. If you or your child are finding it difficult to stay active, remember you can train with them or encourage them to train with a friend, set some goals (start small – 20min run/walk) and just start.
“Co-curricular e-learning’ continues this week, there is plenty to choose from. Students and Staff will have the opportunity to be a part of any club and as many, as you choose (the idea is engagement, try something new, learn a new skill and more importantly connect with people). No need to sign up just join, the aim is to be involved in at least one club per week or as many as you like.
As you sign in to CANVAS you will see the different Clubs/Sports/Music – these courses are still in the beginning stage and the plan is to grow these courses in the coming weeks. Please log onto Canvas, check out the timetable and get involved.
The TAS 20, moves into Week 2 of the challenge. At the end of the week, you will be halfway along the journey. I have enjoyed the accountability to exercise and the creative sessions our staff and students have assembled.
What are you going to start doing this week?
Mr Huon Barrett
Director of Co-curricular
MR MARK HARRISON
It’s only a brief one from me this week because what you see here is more important currently than anything I have to ‘say’ to you. What you see here is representative of individual activity you’ve probably witnessed first-hand, whereas we, here, have simply received photographic evidence of it. So, especially if you’ve seen aspects of these activities first-hand, what’s the purpose of this visual panoply? It’s something that’s conspicuous by its absence – being that thing we’re all doing together: work. We’re all doing schoolwork but we’re clearly enjoying an opportunity to do ‘our own thing, as well’ – the latter, hopefully, is incentive enough to make the former more manageable, especially from a distance. And we all know that the former is so important at this stage of the term, don’t we? These people are very young, and it is by virtue of their age that their need to be engaging in and ‘doing’ activity, as you see here, is vital to overall health.
From messages we’ve received, ‘things at home’, in so many homes, are progressing well; but (there’s so often a ‘but’ in our COVID world) we’ve begun navigating another week of distance learning, haven’t we? This is how it is, and this is what we need to do. My strongest advice to you? Please try to allay any concerns about the processes we continue to have in place to effect the closest we can to regular teaching and learning. Be assured: we are certainly managing essential content, albeit we’re covering it slightly differently; we acknowledge that difference can be concerning; we need to be mutually supportive. In short, physical distance notwithstanding, the Middle School world now is, arguably, one that is as connected because of our daily communications to and from families, as it is on a ‘regular’ school day. Remember, please, we’re as far away as another call or email.
Enjoy your children.
Mr Mark Harrison
Head of Middle School
Hello Middle School,
Hopefully, you are all not bored out of your minds quite yet. I have been keeping busy by doing a lot of cooking. I feel like a true European. I made homemade pasta, macaroons, pizza and much more. I hope you are all staying fit as well by passing the ball around, working on the farm or learning a new hobby even. When I first came home my horses were happy to see me but now whenever I call them they run away not wanting to do any more exercise or work. I hope most of you are enjoying the club’s school supplies. They are all fun and there is sure to be one for everyone or something easy for people to learn. I know we can get through the next 2 or 3 weeks. Just keep busy and stay outside enjoying yourself.
Robin Henry (Year 7)
In my downtime, I enjoy working on my car and riding my motorbike. I am currently restoring a 1953 Morris Ute and I find it interesting learning about this vintage car as I work to restore it to its former glory. I also enjoy riding my motorbike and at the same time, giving my mum a heart attack every time I go for a ride.
MR IAN LLOYD
Thank you to all our families for making such a wonderful effort with the Junior School Book Week celebrations; I’m not sure how much of the Parade you saw but from this end I know it was a lot of fun.
I know that many of you have been able to be involved in the many meetings on screen and it is making all the difference for our students to have the community rallying together to have some fun. Many teachers are introducing a ‘Chinwag Session’ where the kids can chat with each other…with a teacher guiding them along the way where necessary. This has allowed some connection and has been well received. We will keep working to improve our online and onsite offering each week.
As you can see from the comments above, it was very reassuring for us to receive so many returns from the survey sent out last Friday. Clearly, it has been a challenging time for us all but I know there have been so many positives as well. I am sure that through the ebb and flow of remote education, engagement and productivity remain our biggest challenges. Teachers have discussed ways of improving this and you may notice these as the weeks continue. This is not at all surprising and most, if not all schools are reporting similar issues. Personally, I have been very impressed with our students (and those assisting behind the scenes) as the quantity and quality of work being received by teachers has been tremendous. If you feel there is more we can do, please do get in touch with your classroom teacher or me. Your feedback has been very helpful.
If you did not get the chance to complete the survey, please do, as it does not take long and the responses have already driven some changes to the program. It has been very useful to be able to discuss your feedback
I know that you will have received a letter from Dr Horton with news that we are hoping to resume onsite teaching for all Junior School classes from Monday, 13 September. This has been discussed at our staff meeting and our teachers are already planning some great activities to ensure any return is as fun, effective and productive as possible. Please stay in close communication with the school and contact us if necessary.
Congratulations to the following students that received School Spirit Awards last week:
Elara Polson, Sabine Kiehne, Hassan Almokhtar, Chloe Chen, Xavier Nozad Kahriz, Bronte Polson, Eva Cook, Hunter Crane, Grace Crowley, Daniel Mo, Jose Ugwumba, William Dennison, Evelyn Brownlie, Maya Slade, Casper Cook, Jacquie DuBois, Pippi Goudge, Tom Loxley, Archie Tonkin, Arthur White and Elsie Teng.
Only two Junior School students celebrate their birthdays this week, so we wish Nancy Ma and Hassan Almokhtar all the best for their special days.
Mr Ian Lloyd
Head of Junior School
|Wednesday 1 September||Year 3 Assembly – Hoskins Centre 2.45 (Cancelled)|
Year 5 Exhibition – Hoskins Centre (Postponed)
|Wednesday 8 September||Year 5 Assembly – Hoskins Centre 2.45 (Cancelled)|
|Thursday 9 September||Year 3-4 Kayaking and Swim & Survive (Postponed)|
|Wednesday 15 September||Transition Assembly – Hoskins Centre 2.45 (Cancelled)|
|Thursday 16 September||Classes Conclude|
|Friday 17 September||Staff Day|
This week sees a renewed enthusiasm for inquiry as our Year 1 through to our Year 5 classes commence a new unit of inquiry. The teachers have spent time planning units that we hope will allow for some achievable investigations and inquiries to be conducted whilst learning from home.
Inquiry-based learning emphasises a student’s role in the learning process. The teachers are encouraging all students to engage with their new units in an active way by completing some hands-on engagements. The overall goal of an inquiry-based approach to units is for our students to make meaning of what they are learning and to see how concepts work in the real world.
The table below outlines the new units of inquiry classes that will commence this week.
Mrs Veronica Waters
|Year Group||Transdisciplinary Theme||Central Idea|
|Year 1||Sharing the planet||To survive, living things depend on their features and the preservation of their natural environment|
|Year 2||Sharing the planet||Earth’s resources can be used to satisfy needs.|
|Year 3||Who we are||Neighbouring countries are similar and different|
|Year 4||How the world works||Changes to The Earth’s surface impact living things|
|Year 5||How we organise ourselves||Use of materials and their impact on the environment|