Hillbrook Home Classes
The Home Class Bond – a reflection by Sarah a Year 10 student
For me, 2018 and 2019 were filled with love, laughter, tears and happiness. Year 8 and 9 Blue was my Home Class for those two extraordinary years of my life. Mr Behan, our Home Class teacher helped us all to come together as one big family. This was a school experience that was new and exciting. I was only in my second year of high school and yet I already knew so many beautiful people.
One memory that will stick with me forever was the last school day of 2019. It was the last day our home class would be together as one. Typically this is a day of celebration for most students. It’s a step towards meeting new people and forming new friendships. Yes this was an amazing thing that comes from moving to a new home class, but for the 9 Blue class of 2019, this day got all of us tearing up. As Mr Behan handed out our yearbooks we all raced for a pen and began to sign and write little messages in all 30 of them. This set off the water works for some people. Others were triggered when we watched a beautiful video made by our class mate reflecting on the past two years. It was filled with so many memories, even writing about it now gets me emotional. It was getting towards the end of the day and it was time for our last goodbyes. We knew this wouldn’t be the last time we would ever see each other but we knew that things would be different after this day. All of us girls began crying and hugging and then the boys got emotional and then we were all a mess. But the amazing thing was we all knew how much we would miss each other as we all sat together feeling the same way, with love in our hearts and memories flooding through our heads.
That was the last day of being in 9 Blue and looking back on it now, never in a million years would I change anything about it.
The Philosophy behind why we change Home Classes
One of our first considerations with class formation is we understand that adolescence can be a time of much upheaval and change. Therefore, we want to provide some certainty in this period for our students during this time of their lives. Also, however, students need to learn skills that they will need in their lives after school. We therefore try to reach a balance between minimising change whilst also experiencing it to develop resilience and the skill to be able to cope with change. It is a fine balancing act. For that reason we do not change classes each year and keep the number of changes of home class to only three times throughout one students’ life at Hillbrook from Year 7 to Year 12.
The reasons behind the timing of the class changes have also been well considered. Students will begin in Year 7 and stay in that Home Class for one year. The Year 7s spend most of their time in the same classroom with a minimal number of teachers. They will do everything with that Home Class, even elective subjects. Just starting high is a hugely exciting but also scary time. This is why our Year 7 structure has been designed as a transition period from primary to high school.
Students will then change into a new Home class for Years 8 and 9. The reasoning behind this is that spending so much time together in Year 7 the students are ready for a change. They will remain in that class for two years, preferably with the same Home Teacher. In these years they will do all of their core subjects as well as PSD, Religion, Health and Physical Education lesson with their Home Class. Students will have three elective subjects which are made up of a mix of the four Home Classes. By keeping the students together for the next two years, they will have a mix of certainty and familiarity with the other students and teachers but they experience a small degree of change by being in elective subjects. The home class teacher will come to know their students very well over the two years and can help to keep a close monitoring eye on both their social and academic development. These two years are crucial in terms of developing study habits and positive learning behaviours.
At the start of Year 10 the Home Classes change again. The students will spend their last three years at Hillbrook with this group. Just like in Year 9, they spend all core subjects and Religion and PSD etc together and electives are a mix up of classes still. The most pressing factor now though is that Year 10 is a preparation for students for Senior School. In senior all of their classes will be electives that they have chosen. Therefore, in Year 10 we reshuffle the Home Classes to further help students develop skills of meeting new and working with people and adjusting to new teaching styles. We aim to help students adjust to a smaller change before Year 11 when every single class they will be in is new.
My best memory at Hillbrook was the day I met my best friend. I can still remember it very clearly and it was a very important moment in my life.
Caitlin, Year 9
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