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As our students and staff look forward to a much deserved holiday break, I think it is appropriate to address the national advertising campaign around ‘burn-out’ and the symptoms of it. We often see this as stress in the initial stages and there is no doubt in my mind that stress is a component of a ‘teacher’s lot’ these days. Increasingly so, we are noticing that among our students as well. This concerns me and I have said to our staff as strongly as I can to give our students (and themselves too) a break and some space these holidays to refresh and recharge for what undoubtedly will be a busy Term 2.
Talking with a couple of our student leaders they instantly defined two significant sources of stress:
- The loss of re-submission opportunities in NCEA apart from Not Achieved to Achieved. In other words they mourn the loss of the ability to re-sub to get to Merit or Excellence levels – it is now a ‘one-shot’ opportunity only.
- Overhanging anxiety over the “Covid thing”. “What happens if we have a new case of community transmission?” “Could I handle another lockdown?” This resonates with me as my younger daughter shares these thoughts with us at home as well.
If I can finish by taking a line out of my end of year prizegiving address:
As you leave here today, think of how lucky you are to be a young New Zealander enjoying the delights of a school holiday. Do take the time to be a kiwi kid in paradise. Enjoy the good weather while it lasts. New Zealand is the greatest country on Earth. Where else would you rather be!