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The Secret to a Successful School Year

A new school year gives students a chance for a fresh start and a chance to implement practices that will assist them to find success. Starting strong will foster the way for a successful year. There are many self-help guides and phone apps that claim they hold the secret to finding success. A quick google search on ‘how to be successful’ shows hundreds of websites, YouTube clips, quotes, lists and books that promise to help you find stress-free success!

Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible. Francis of Assisi

There are many common strategies that they all share:

• Create a weekly planner
• Write a to-do list
• Remove yourself from distraction
• Get enough sleep
• Write and display your goals
• Break large tasks into smaller manageable steps
• Eat well and drink plenty of water
• Partake in regular exercise
• Manage social media use
• Practice mindfulness
• Utilise your mentors (you learn from your teachers, not subjects!)
• Look for the positive in situations

While these are great tips, they require self-discipline. Students must make a conscious choice whether to keep their old practices or break old habits with new ones. The first step is self-reflection and identifying the weaknesses that you wish to overcome. While self-discipline requires effort and consistency, your chances of developing control over your habits and choices can be strengthened with support. Sharing the changes that you hope to make with others and seeking their assistance to hold you accountable can be a key strategy in adopting new practices.

In addition to seeking support, there are two additional key strategies that can cultivate and strengthen self-discipline

One strategy is to organise the physical space; a clean and tidy space with visually displayed reminders of goals and plans can motivate and enhance commitment to a change in habit. The final strategy, and this cannot be underestimated, is to eliminate distraction. Something as simple as turning your phone off for one hour while you study Maths, will make the quality of your study more powerful. Without distraction, your study will be enhanced and you get more bang for your buck!

As caregivers and parents, we play an important role in fostering and supporting these habits of our children. To all parents and students, I offer you the following advice in addition to the tips listed above:

Parents – Don’t be afraid to reach out and engage with your sons, even if they push back. Try not to nag about study, but instead offer encouragement and support. Don’t be busy around exam times, as they may need you more. Occasionally visit their study space with food and water.

Students – Your parents can help you! Talk to them about your study and assessment and share with them when tasks are due. Ask them to question you when you revise. Seek out the support of your teachers, too. They want you to succeed and will help you to reach your goals!

The most successful students have been those who are organised, foster self-discipline and draw on the support of those around them. I implore all students to reflect on their current practice and adopt the discussed strategies to improve. With a conscious effort to adopt positive habits, together with the support of both parents and teachers, students will have found their secret to a successful school year.

Lara Morgan
Dean of Learning

Empty classrooms filled with eager learners today as we welcomed students to the 2020 academic year.