Dear Parents and Friends
As we all prepare to enter the twelfth week of lockdown, I am sure that, like me, you are all feeling stressed, exhausted, and anxious amongst other things. Thinking back to June, I suspect none of us anticipated that we would be facing long term remote working, home-schooling our children, separation from those that we love and finding ourselves, months later, unable to hug fathers, grandfathers, and men of importance in our lives for Father’s Day.
With R U OK? Day yesterday, it is a timely reminder of the importance to take time to consider whether those around us are OK, but also importantly whether we ourselves are OK. At a time when, more than ever, we all feel the weight of trying to remain positive for our children, have you stopped to ask yourself, “Am I OK?”
When I answer this question honestly as a parent, a partner and an employee, my answer is ‘sometimes’. Some days feel manageable, others feel anything but. To navigate through the challenges, I find myself needing to make a conscious effort every day (sometimes every hour!) to consider what I am grateful for, to remind myself that there are silver linings.
I am grateful to have this extra time with my children, seeing them grow and develop and being able to steal extra cuddles throughout the day. I am grateful that COVID-19 cases have remained relatively low in our area of Sydney, and that my family and loved ones are safe and healthy. I am grateful that we have a roof over our heads and food on our table - in fact, more home cooked meals now that I never leave home! And I am grateful that I am part of the wonderful St Augustine’s College community.
This sense of community is evidenced in the commitment, dedication, passion, and care from our staff. Our teachers who are working tirelessly to continue to deliver engaging content, keep student motivation high, and maintain a careful eye on your sons to make sure they are coping. Our Support Staff who are working, in many cases behind the scenes, to make sure everything continues operating smoothly in all areas of the College. Our College Social Committee who has been a strong source of connection and fun for our staff through mental and physical health challenges, DIY competitions, cooking classes, and other events. And our Pastoral and Wellbeing teams who now, more than ever, are focused on the wellbeing of your sons through experiences designed to foster connections, and social and emotional learning to help your boys better understand their thoughts and emotions, destigmatise feelings and help build strategies that support their wellbeing.
This sense of community is also abundantly expressed through your sons. At a time when their world is confusing, challenging and isolating, they are supporting each other and their teachers. They have participated in classes, in large part with enthusiasm. They have not just taken part in other activities but have actively created opportunities for their peers to connect and remain positive through initiatives such as the Silver Linings Art Competition, #AUGGIEstrongchallenges and #AUGGIESonfire challenges. Our SRC have even set up a virtual conversation corner to ensure no student feels disconnected. Such wonderful expressions of their care for each other.
Lastly, the sense of community comes from you - the parents and carers of our students. Your hard work to support your sons with their home-schooling, encouraging them to stay motivated and optimistic while you also try to balance the other aspects of your life and remain motivated and optimistic yourselves. The support that you show the College in entrusting your sons to us, engaging with our staff, and providing appreciative and constructive feedback as we continue to move through uncharted territory.
It is only through this amazing community of staff, students, and families that we have all been able to navigate as well as we have, and I am grateful for this community, as I know so many others are too.
While the challenge of lockdown can easily take us all to a place of feeling negative or overwhelmed, I encourage you to look around for your own silver linings - all that you can be grateful for. Remember, this is a moment in time that will pass. Be kind to yourself.
Head of Human Resources