Tū Rangatira | Integrity
Over recent weeks we have spoken often about Tū Rangatira | Integrity in our communications with young men. We often use the idea of 'doing the right thing' to illustrate what Tū Rangatira | Integrity encompasses. To this is often added "even when no one is looking". It is often easy to do the right thing - what we know is expected of us - when we know we are being observed. However, a truer test is what we do when we are not being observed - when we know that the decisions we make and how we behave is known only to ourselves. Do we still do what we know to be the 'right' thing or do we do what is easy and expedient?
This is a difficult idea to teach and it is often through reflection after the fact that young men understand the true meaning of Tū Rangatira | Integrity. As parents we are in a unique and powerful position to help them reflect and learn. We are also in an incredibly powerful position to role model integrity. Frequently our children and other young people learn much more from what they see us do than from what they hear us say.
Our current situation is loaded with opportunities to have some 'deep' conversations with young men about the Covid response. The lockdown works to help ensure our physical health, but what about our mental health? How do we balance the physical health of the nation against the economy? Do we have a responsibility to get vaccinated? What are the impacts on others in our community if we do not get vaccinated? There will be a range of differing opinions about the answers to these questions and the intent is not to cause conflict, but to begin to encourage deeper engagement with some of the moral issues confronting the global community at the moment. There may well be differing opinions within households. Developing the ability to articulate and support a point of view and understanding that it is okay to hold a different point of view from others while still respecting them are important skills to learn.
Wellbeing - Anxiety
Increased levels of anxiety as a consequence of the Alert level 4 lockdown are completely understandable. The short-term timeframes that we are currently given between announcements of the review of Alert Levels will likely exacerbate this, robbing us of the certainty and predictability that we thrive on. While the 2020 lockdown was (hopefully) significantly longer than the 2021 version, we at least went into last year's version with a rough timeline in mind - certainty amongst the uncertainty.
Dr. Sarb Johal, who has advised the New Zealand government on their Covid response, explains:
“Human beings are creatures of habit. We like predictability and routine, so our everyday lives tend to follow a familiar pattern.
In ‘normal’ times, this predictability helps most of us to navigate everyday life on a fairly even keel. With our neat weekly schedules in place, we usually know what’s happening next, so we tend not to worry too much about what’s around the corner. This sense of continuity gives meaning to our lives and allows us to believe that the world is a safe, stable and generally positive place – or at least, not a place that is likely to cause us harm.
The trouble is, those ‘normal times’ seemed to evapourate somewhere around March 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic began rapidly spreading around the globe.
Uncertainty is recognised as a leading cause of worry, anxiety and stress. When we don’t know what’s coming next, we feel vulnerable and this puts us on edge.”
It is important that we look after both our mental and physical health, as well as that of our whānau, friends and colleagues. The good news is that there are plenty of simple things that we can do:
Āhurutanga - provide a place of warmth and security for those in your bubble. Check in daily with them about their moods and emotions. Give them the opportunity and space to vent their feelings (without trying to 'fix' the problems - often having the opportunity to be heard is most effective) and be listened to.
Manaakitanga - check-in regularly with whānau, friends and family. Technology means that there are many easy ways of doing this.
Hei mahi - regular exercise is essential for both our physical and mental health. Exercise does not need to be high intensity - whatever you can manage is fine.
Get outdoors - exercise outdoors if you can, but even rugging up to sit outside to read or talk on the phone provides a break from being stuck inside.
Get offline - taking a break from the ubiquitous technology around us helps. Picking up a book can take our minds off everything going on around us and allows us the opportunity to escape to another world. We all know what's going to be in the news - we won't miss anything important if we're offline for a few hours.
Get structure - the longer lockdown goes on the easier it is to slip out of routine and become lost in the repetitive nature of the day. Providing some loose structure helps us to get focused on the important things we have to do - and this is especially important for young men. This structure does not need to be rigid, but breaking the day up into defined blocks of time helps keep us on track.
Beat procrastination - getting started can be the most difficult thing, especially for young men who have academic work to complete. Use your cell phone to help you get started: put it into flight mode so there are no distractions, set the timer for 20 minutes and get into your work. Reward yourself at the end of 20 minutes with a five-minute break before setting the timer for another 20 minutes. Working in this way is an easy way to break up tasks into manageable chunks.
We cannot control the virus and only indirectly influence the changes to Alert Levels through our actions in following the necessary restrictions. However, we can completely control our response - as in the suggestions outlined above.
The New Zealand Institute of Wellbeing and Resilience has compiled a toolkit of resources to support us all during the challenges wrought by Covid. Click here to check out their resources. Mr. Steve Dawson, PNBHS Guidance Counsellor, has produced a presentation explaining what anxiety is and what causes it, along with some simple strategies to overcome it. Mr. Dawson's presentation can be found further on in this newsletter.
2022 Subject Selections
Young men are currently being asked to select their subject options for 2022. Information about the subject choices available can be found here. Subject choices for 2022 need to be made by 3.30pm on Friday, August 27. Information about making your son's choices via the Parent Portal can be found here.
Click here to read the full 2022 Subject Selection information.
Year 9 2022 Enrolments
Online enrolments for 2022 Year 9 students remain open and there will be no alteration to the enrolment period as a consequence of the Alert Level 4 lockdown. Please click here for information about the online enrolment process. Should you require assistance in completing the online enrolment forms please contact the main school office: email@example.com
PNBHS Senior Examinations are scheduled to take place from Friday, September 10 - Friday, September 17. While we are hoping that these will be able to go ahead as scheduled, we are mindful that changes may be necessary if we spend further time in Alert Level 4 or Alert Level 3 (unfortunately creating more uncertainty).
The events of the last week have vividly illustrated how quickly the situation can change - literally going from close to 'normal' everyday life to complete lockdown in the space of a few hours. It is possible that the external NCEA examinations may be impacted in a similar manner. Should this occur, NZQ would enact the derived grade process to determine the final NCEA grades awarded for external Achievement Standards. Effectively this means that the grades young men achieve in the school examinations would be used to determine their final result. Being adequately prepared for the school examinations is therefore important.
There is much that your son can do in order to prepare. The NZQA website includes assessment materials - examination papers from previous years, marking schedules, examiners reports, annotated exemplar papers at all levels of achievement - for ALL external Achievement Standards and will be helpful for your son's revision in all subjects. Click here to access the relevant section of the NZQA website.
Knowing how to study effectively is also important (reading and highlighting, as favoured by many young men, is very ineffective). We have collated some resources to help with this - click here to access them. Simply put, the sooner your son begins his revision the better his chance of success in both the upcoming PNBHS examinations and the external NCEA examinations.