When your children enter a new school, whether it’s as a preppy full of anticipation and enthusiasm on the first day, or a year seven starting the journey that is secondary school, just a bigger version of a preppy really when they’re going into “big school”, there is always some anxiety on the part of parents. Will they like it, will they find friends, will they get lost, will they do well, will their teachers be good, will they make the most of every opportunity they have, and give back to the school as much as they get?
As we have discovered ourselves, each of your children is different, not just at home but at school. That’s part of the wonderful journey as we watch them grow as individuals and find their place in the world, first at school, and amongst their peers, and later at work, in the land of “grown-ups”. And as we know, one size school does not fit all, and the challenge is to find options that meet the needs of your child, so they can continue to grow and excel in whatever area they choose.
Naturally as our own man-child headed off to TAFE this year to pursue his passion for building, leaving behind mainstream school, we were a little anxious. All of the same fears are still at work even when they are nearly 17. But really we shouldn’t have worried.
- Will he find friends? In fact he already knew a few boys doing the same course and then bumped into someone he knows well in his own class.
- Will he meet new people (not the “wrong crowd”)? It didn’t take him long to be part of a small group that organised a gathering one Friday night. Great to see them all getting to know each other. I wasn’t that surprised to learn that they’d already found some nice girls, naturally doing the hairdressing course!!!
- Will he find his way? No problems, got himself sorted, early right down to smart tactics to secure a locker for all his gear, and knowing where they offer the free sausage sizzle for lunch or bacon and eggs for brunch.
- Will he be engaged in learning at TAFE (he wasn’t at school)? Up early every day, leaving early, getting the work done – all music to our ears!
- Will he like his teachers? And will they be good? He seems to think so, and one of them is already talking of next term when she can offer them building work on-site if they are interested – which he is! All good.
- Will he do well? As we have said to him, if this is what you really want to do, then go for it and work hard. You want to be the pick of the bunch when the employers come knocking looking for apprentices so aim high at trade school. The great news is in his first assessment doing a practical task he got 98%. He was delighted, as were we.
All of this comes off the back of a moment of panic, which saw him diagnosed with Glandular Fever on the first day of TAFE. We were waiting for the assault on his body that would lay him low for 2 weeks, but thankfully he seems to have missed that blow. That said, we will make sure he doesn’t run himself into the ground, for fear it will recur.
As they say, so far, so good. Our man-child is off to a great start, ticking all the boxes to allay our fears, and by all indications seeming to have found his niche. We are confident it will continue, and are thrilled to see the first signs of success, because as we all know, success in itself it can be such a great motivator.
Did your kids start at a new school this year? As a preppy or Year 7? How did they go? Did you have the same anxieties as me?
I have written about my own memories of school here following our recent 30 year reunion: School Memories. 30 Years On.