How can you help your Year 12 student succeed?
Planning is a very important aspect of success. Over the three years students have been at QACI there has been a concerted effort to guide students to better planning and study habits. Some students take this on board straightaway while others need a little more convincing.
As a parent you too can play an active role in ensuring your child plans for success. In no way am I suggesting that you need to write a plan for them, nor do you need to micro manage their time; however sometimes being accountable to another person can encourage action.
What system do we use?
Step 1: List out your major assessment items for the term.
We encourage students to use the overall Semester Planner Poster to provide students with an overall view of what assessment is due over the next few weeks. We provide students with a hard and soft copy of this document. The soft copy can be found on the Student Intranet under Strive, the hard copy is distributed and filled out during InterConnect for students to bring home and put somewhere visible like above their desk.
Step 2: Planning out weekly requirements
Once students have a good idea of what major assessment is due they can then break down weekly tasks that need to be achieved. This should include homework tasks, milestones to be achieved, major events, work and draft/final due dates. Some students love having this as a written diary, others prefer to have this as an editable word document. Either way this needs to be a written document. It is not possible to "remember" everything that needs to be completed. This could look similar to this planner.
Most importantly the information given on this document needs to be very specific. Entries such as "Study ESS" is not as helpful as "Review Unit 1.1 through to 1.3 ESS textbook and write answers to the revision questions 1-10". Taking some time and writing specific tasks provides direction and less floundering.
Step 3: Write a daily To Do list
Having a daily list of items that need to be accomplished gives direction and also gives a sense of achievement. It's incredibly satisfying and uplifting to cross off items when they have been achieved. Ideally aim to have between 3-5 items at the most. This will depend on the complexity of the task of course. We recommend prioritizing them into Must Do and Good to Do
Step 4: Set times to eat, sleep and socialize
Teenagers need between 8-10 hours of sleep to function effectively. We also know that they work best in late evening hours. However, this does not work in conjunction with our schooling system which requires students to attend morning classes. At QACI this can be exacerbated by long commuting times. In many cases this is about training our bodies to function differently. Getting students into bed by midnight is a reasonable request. The Sleep Foundation has some excellent hints and tips: https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/teens-and-sleep
Eating a well-balanced diet is another vital component of success. At this point in their schooling, teens become stressed and feel overworked. Where once they made reasonable choices for food, possibly even making their own meals, we often see students reaching for what is easy and convenient. There is a sharp increase in those drinking multiple energy drinks, caffeinated beverages, chocolate, lollies and highly processed foods. Encouraging students to sit down for a prepared meal at least once a day not only ensures they have a balanced meal, but allows them to unwind and chat with you about what's going on in their lives.
Not everything can be about work and the end goal. Having time set aside to reconnect with friends and family is also important. Research shows that by scheduling this in by adding it to the weekly calendar, there are fewer "push backs" and reluctance/overuse of this time. Make this time free from discussing work requirements, grades or assessment pieces.
Ultimately realise that you and your child are doing a really awesome job. I have watched these year 12s work incredibly hard through several major changes in their schooling career and they have handled it with grace. I have no doubt they will all find their niche and flourish, even if the path is not as straightforward as we would all like it to be.
Lastly, we are here to help. Your child has an InterConnect coach, a Connect Coach, their subjects teachers and HoDs, myself as Year Level Coordinator and Mr Zornig as their Year level deputy. We also have our wonderful guidance officers and our Succeed coach. So please don't hesitate to reach out and access our support.
Carolyn Kepczyk and Renee Marschke-Beveridge