Within the first week at Scotch Oakburn College, what our students very quickly realise is, that they are able to say, ‘I belong’.
I remember starting Year 7 (a VERY long time ago) with my big fluffy hair and my massively over-sized glasses…. and how nervous I felt being the littlest fish in the biggest pond… some of my thoughts were about, ‘Am I going to get lost finding my classroom?’, ‘Am I going to forget things?’, ‘Will the teachers remember my name (how could they not with my big fluffy hair)?’.
But the biggest concern for me was, ‘Am I going to make friends and fit in? Am I going to belong?’
I have no doubt that Year 7 students everywhere still feel like this on their first day of school. But, within the first week at Scotch Oakburn College, what our students very quickly realise is, that they are able to say, ‘I belong’.
They can say ‘I belong’ when they have their Orientation day. They say, ‘I made new friends with some people in my House on Ed Outdoors camp’. They say, ‘I am friends with the older students in my tutor group and they look out for me’. They say, ‘People in my House were cheering loudly for me at the Swimming Carnival, even people that didn’t really know me’; ‘I worked in a team with others on SOC2City, and now we are friends’; ‘In class someone didn’t understand what to do, and I understood, so I helped them with their learning’.
Our Year 7s know and feel that they are part of a community because their teachers know their names, because the grounds staff smile and say hello as they’re walking to their next class, because the teacher aides encourage and support them, because the reception staff help them find resources they need.
Our Year 7s are part of a strong community at Scotch Oakburn College and they know that ‘they belong’.