Finding the balance
The end of term usually brings a sense of relief for everyone. First term involves a lot of adjustments. In the case of students who entered Year 10, this term has required adjustment to the Academy, new subjects, teachers, students and academic expectations. For students in Years 11 and 12, this term has meant adjustment to a different year level, additional academic demands and compliance with the requirements of the IB. It has been a big term and I expect the coming break is eagerly anticipated by all.
Holidays are necessary to provide an opportunity for relaxation, for socialisation and to re-energise for the term ahead. The holidays also provide an opportunity for students to attend to a few academic tasks. The critical issue during a break between terms is to find an appropriate balance between work and relaxation.
Term exams are designed to help students identify and address areas that they still have to learn and understand. Students who haven’t already gone through their exams to identify areas that still need attention should do so during the holidays. By now, students should know what areas still need to be learnt and the holidays provide some time in which to review these areas of work. Students could set aside a little time early in the holidays to follow up on the exam questions that highlight a need for further study.
Holidays provide an opportunity to increase CAS hours and it may be possible to undertake a couple of activities that fulfil the CAS requirements. Some activities will not be available because it is holiday time, but with some careful forethought, it should be possible to identify suitable activities. Students could set aside sufficient time during the holidays to meet these obligations, thus freeing up term time. By using the holidays to build CAS hours, students won’t feel pressured to do a lot of CAS hours during term when they also have high academic demands. The Extended Essay may be weighing on the minds of some students and the holiday period provides unstructured time to focus on essay preparation. The essay requires in-depth research; planning; concentration and time for uninterrupted writing. The holiday period provides an opportunity to work at length on the essay but it is easy to become immersed in writing, to enter a state of ‘flow’ (especially if passionate about the topic) and to have difficulty stopping. Students should be careful that they do not commit too much time to the essay and deny themselves a much needed break from academic work.
By setting aside specific but limited time for academic work at the outset of the holidays, doing some of these activities with friends and ensuring there is plenty of time during the holidays to rest, relax, socialise and have fun, students will feel energised and ready to do their best in the term ahead.
© Michele Juratowitch