The Thistle - An E-Newsletter of Scotch College, Perth, Western Australia

From the Head of Middle School

A Special Breed of Person; the Middle School Teacher

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with a group of prospective parents on the theme "Why Middle School Matters". Preparing for this event gave me with the chance to step back and think critically about our model of Middle School, how we do things here, and why we do it differently.

It all comes down to one factor, the adolescent brain. Never again in a human's life will cognitive development be so rapid. The Middle School student is grappling with developing skills for abstract thinking, for considering multiple perspectives, and they are questioning authority and society standards.  They are learning how the world works and are trying to find their place in it.  Added to this maelstrom of cognitive development is a cocktail of adolescent hormones that can make emotional and physical changes extreme.

Whilst the Middle School boy is looking to separate emotionally and cognitively from his family ties, he still requires adult guidance to navigate the world. Our school structure reduces the number of teachers a boy would see in a day, thereby increasing the contact time we have with him, and helping to develop strong pastoral care relationships. Our curriculum units are designed to foster the boy's natural curiosity and to help him consider the world on a large scale. Embedded into everything we teach is a consideration of different perspectives, values education, and service learning links.

This thought process led me to reflect on the central role our teachers play in the success of the Middle School.  It's a special breed of person who loves being a Middle School teacher, dealing with the young adolescent brain on a daily basis. Our teachers are innovative educators. They act in loco parentis to guide the boy's decision making, to assist with emotional and social concerns, and to foster consideration and respect for others. They collaborate closely with each other to ensure that the care and education of your son is gold standard.

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In a week where Australia celebrated the United Nations World Teachers' Day, I would like to thank and acknowledge our Middle School teachers for all they do.

Mrs Sophie Berry
Acting Head of Middle School