From the Dean of Year 11

Following an intense exam period, students were rewarded with three glorious, and much deserved, weeks off. They have completed their first Unit of VCE and are facing 15 more weeks of school before their Unit 2 exams. After that, they will be staring down the barrel of Year 12. All of a sudden, the end of secondary school does not seem far away. After working with this wonderful group of students for a semester, I reflect on their first weeks in Year 11 and what lies ahead.

At the beginning of the year, I asked each student to write down a goal for VCE. This turned out to be easier for some than others. The goals varied – some clearly thought out, others spare of the moment thoughts. Getting organised, achieving a good ATAR, working harder, completing all homework on time and avoiding procrastination were just some of their initial aims for the year. Although each of these could be the goals of any Year 11 student, what struck me as interesting was the acceptance that perhaps these points were not the focus of previous years. VCE offers a new level of focus, where students picture themselves working towards an end point. Upon completion of Unit 1, I hope that each student has had a moment to ponder their year so far, and think about whether they have been able to meet their personal goals.

In the final weeks of Term 2, students received their exams back. The question they should be asking is, ‘what now?’ In the coming weeks, I will be talking to the girls about the importance of resilience and how to cope with potential adversity. Whether marks were disappointing, surprising or expected, the most important thing is to reflect and ask the right questions. The resilient student will ask, ‘how can I improve?’ and question how they may have gone wrong. The resilient student will not throw away their exam or get angry with their teacher for receiving a poor mark. The resilient student will accept their mark and look forward.

What I have noticed about this cohort is their level of focus. Students were prepared to start VCE, they have developed a mature rapport teachers, are active in asking for help and provide a wonderful support network for one another. In the first week back, I advise all students to approach this semester with the same level of enthusiasm, and to think back to their original goal – a personal driving force for the remainder of the year. I look forward to another busy term with this inspiring group of young women.

Ms Lilly Dusting, Dean of Year 11