There are particular junctures in life that encourage emotional punctuation to assure that these moments don’t pass us by without appropriate recognition. Our seniors this week have reached that moment where their knowledge and associated work of two years has come to a culmination and we move them into independent study mode to prepare for critical exams that will begin shortly. As I’m experiencing this first hand with my own son this year, it is appropriate to pause and ponder the import of this transition from teacher directed to independent study in the final days.
How students move from uncertainty and stress into confidence and calm is still a mysterious and elusive quality. Some will achieve this quite easily, others will never find that calm in the moments leading up to an exam. I would suggest it is a complex dynamic that is only partially dependent upon instruction and study. While those elements are essential, there are other factors at play that require emphasis.
If you have found yourselves concerned about engagement and focus in the weeks leading up to exams, the current moment is not the time for corrective action or additional supervision. In fact, the final stage of preparation for an event of this magnitude is better couched in the domain of unconditional support, love, and encouragement. I think students want to hear that, whatever the result, they will be supported and results accepted unconditionally. It is that level of support and care that may encourage or enrich the way in which students approach the challenge and internalize it as an independent and personal accomplishment. The hope is for focus and confidence to emerge, which assures the level of energy and engagement that is required for their success.
This is complex because our kids are complex. Our seniors have worked hard and demonstrated tremendous growth in their final years at AAS. We owe them our unconditional commitment in the final hours, just as we have done throughout the year. I value very much the help from parents in the final days, including the many treats that are set to appear on each day of exams. In ways both large and small, let’s show them the compassion that we all share. This is a moment of launch, worthy of empowerment and celebration.
Speaking of waypoints, my congratulations to 5th Grade Exhibition for their wonderful display of passion and talent. Another critical event in students’ lives, they again demonstrated tremendous competence as they explored their interests and turned their inquiry into competent demonstrations of learning and insight. Way to go, Grade 5! Thank you to all the teachers and mentors that helped make this work possible.
If you haven’t had a chance, pop over to AAS Videos and watch the CEESA performance if you weren’t able to attend on Saturday evening. I was glued to the Livestream from Bangkok while attending my accreditation trip. It was an amazing performance filled with talented kids, impressive directors, and wonderful entertainment. Combining all of those students from so many places made it all the more meaningful for both the audience and the participants. Thank you to Penguin Life, Bruce Nelson, Laura Burns, and Dan Miller for making it a special night for our students, community, and guests!