Second level schools are on the move again and, as they do every other year, the Leaving Cert class was invited last week to hear from each teacher about the important jobs ahead and how they need to settle into a good routine. may have spent on Early and teacher planning for getting through the year.
However, as the teaching of the class in 2023 was disrupted by Covid, there are many things that are not considered normal.
Most students know that doing well in fifth grade can make a big difference in progress. Learning their job well in the first round and establishing a good study and homework routine will help students get right into action when they enter sixth grade.
That said, it’s normal for sixth graders to arrive at my office feeling stressed and overwhelmed in their first semester and regret not starting to prepare more diligently in fifth grade.
What struck me as unusual in Spring 2022 was having fifth graders come into my office with these feelings and concerns. The best students have repeatedly told me that they worked hard to prepare for their junior certificate at the beginning of the junior year.
Not only did they lose their study habits, they were worried that they didn’t know how to study. Having never taken a high-risk exam before, they were worried that they would not be able to cope with the final stage of a certificate of completion as an assessment. They worried about falling behind their peers. There is also the added pressure of not knowing how the Leaving Cert grade will be awarded.
As sixth grade begins, most students experience these feelings, so they don’t lag behind their classmates.
It’s important to realize that the past cannot be changed and all that can be done should be done. Grade 6 has control over how they prepare from this point onwards.
Breaking the work that needs to be completed into small, bite-sized chunks and working one day at a time is essential to managing your workload and stress levels. Focus on doing quality homework first. Think of this as the study your teacher asked you to do. This means that Year 6 work is learned properly when it is first introduced, saving time in the future. Then I study for the class test. Again, make sure the work is properly introduced and learned.
Finally, we will introduce revisions when possible, but please accept that this may not be possible every day.
Aoife Walsh is a Guidance Counselor at Malahide Community School in Co Dublin.