We may have said it before, but students should well and truly have a handle on this whole high school thing by now. With two years on the belt, students should understand the expectations both as a student and academic wise. They say that Year 9 can sometimes be the worst of them all. Changes are happening, friendships may be adjusting, and overall, students may be unfocused.
Senior school hasn’t started yet so for some the clock starts to slow down and academics are put on the back burner. Whilst the grades earnt in Grade 9 might not affect the result in Grade 12, the work ethic fostered will. If switching off and not applying themselves to their studies is what students associate Year 9 with, then we’re here to tell you to tell them, that it’s not.
Time to focus and prepare. Students have the opportunity (and the responsibility) to knuckle down and do the hard yards now for the benefit it will provide their Year 12 self. Ignoring an assignment because Becky has a birthday party on the weekend is not focusing nor keeping on top of their studies. Students need to discover the balance and sweet spot between work and play. To ensure that they can cash in their invitation to Becky’s party, indicate to students that that assignment needs to be done or, better yet, that assignment and last week’s homework should be completed before it’s party time.
Whilst it can be a confusing time, Year 9 is also a great opportunity to explore the subjects students maybe haven’t thought of before. Experiment with subjects and encourage students to find out what they like. It’s no good for students to go through high school without trying their luck in woodwork or visual art. The benefit is, that if they find something they like that is maybe not considered a mainstream subject, a newfound focus or confidence may be introduced.
With finding passions, comes finding strengths and weaknesses. You might be able to notice it yourself at home in the little time it takes to read the book for English then it does to complete the maths homework. Helping students to see their strengths and weaknesses within their academics can encourage them to work harder in those they find difficulty with and to challenge themselves further with those they consider to be a strength.
After having spent two years at school, students will have learnt a thing or two about achievements and failure. Celebrating the achievements and assessing the failures will create a critical thinking student. Learning that a lower grade than expected is not the end of the world at an earlier stage will make life easier in the long run. Just in the same way that learning that achieving in one subject doesn’t always mean that will carry over into the later years of high school is as important.
Exploring and finding passions will make Year 9 extra engaging for students. Help where you can and encourage where you can’t.