7 Things students need to know before going secondary school
Wesley Hall Juniors Class 4 teacher Mrs. Sherrie Barrow hugs her perfect score in Mathematics student Yusuf Abovat while surrounded by all her 11-plus students.
Secondary school is an ocean and primary school was a puddle, so expect, adapt and embrace the changes at your new school.
What do we mean?
Here's the tip of the iceberg, seven differences you'll notice from Day One at your new secondary school.
1. Size doesn't matter
You may have been the smallest or biggest in your primary school but at your new school, you will see that First Form students come in all shapes and sizes. You may now be the biggest in your new class when you were once the smallest in your Class 4, or you may now be the smallest after being the tallest at primary school.
2. Bottom of the Totem pole
You are back at the bottom of the pack sweethearts. You no longer rule the school. You are no longer the 'bosses'. You are the youngest and newest members of your new school's student body. So be careful.
3. No badges
As we said, you are not the controllers of the school anymore. Gone are the prefect badges, the Head Girl badges, the Head Boy badges, the House Captain badges etcetera. You may be the Form Captain but that's it - one badge to rule them all.
4. Long lines
Not only is it probably healthier to take to school your lunch as $1 will no longer get you five hot meals per week, but it will work out to be less stress. A tiny first former could spend half of the lunch hour or even the whole lunch hour in the school canteen line waiting to buy lunch. Avoid this nightmare if and when possible!
5. Blocks pun top uh blocks of rooms
Your primary school may have comprised of two, three, four, five or even six blocks but when you get to secondary schools you'll be moving into schools with over 10 blocks of classrooms, and there may be three storeys or three levels. Believe it or not some schools even have up to four floors with classes. There will now be rooms for specific classes like the Art Room, the Home Ec room, the Music room etcetera. You will have a library and some schools have a gym. In essence your're going from a small plant or small layout to a much bigger one. Don't worry, you won't need to drop breadcrumbs to find and remember places, you learn the lay of the land quickly.
6. More of everything
So, ever heard the saying, 'The work now begins'? They did not lie, whoever "they" is. In secondary school you will have more subjects - Maths, English Language, English Literature, Geography, History, Music, Spanish, French, I.T., Physical Education, Science, and more. For almost every subject you'll have a different teacher and different books. And you'll have more homework for each subject.
Loop's advice - look at your timetable (you'll get it on the first day) and see when work is due, then work accordingly.
Once we had a Biochemistry teacher who said to us, "You may not get all the homework done in time, but you must prioritise and live by your decisions." She was not saying don't attempt to complete all your homework, but she wanted us to be prepared for the world beyond school, where deadlines matter and you must make big decisions, even if it means saying "Ma'am, I'll take a 5% penalty for lateness. I had too much homework for XYZ and I will be two days late handing in your assignment." Your teacher can take or leave your proposition but the point is, you are taking matters into your hands, prioritising and living by your decisions - consequences and all.
7. Public Transportation works wonders
For many, you will no longer be walking down the street to school. You may no longer get dropped off at or a walking distance from your school gate. From September you may have to catch bus or van or ZR to school. Do not fear, it's not as scary as some people try to make it. What Loop will tell you is remember these 3 rules:
a) If the Transport Board comes first, take it. It's free for students in uniform.
b) If the Transport Board is late, always have your backup $2 and another backup-backup $2 to catch the public service vehicle - minivan or ZR.
c) If you catch a bus, minivan or ZR and you feel as though the person is driving reckless, ring the bell and get out and catch the next one. (Use your backup monies) Do not sit in a van or bus afraid as a driver drives too quickly or zigs and zags dangerously.
Between now and September, we will share more tips with you, but for now, Congrats again, regardless of which school you will be attending next school year!