The secret to walking a tightrope

According to my research, I am one of the most uncoordinated people ever to have lived throughout the entire history of time. I am a dropper. I am clumsy. I have trouble walking in a straight line. More often than not, people say that I have no balance. I agree with them…to an extent.

For me, ‘balance’ is not simply about coordination. Yes, it is true that we have asked some of our junior students to walk a tightrope during our Circus Week in 2018, but this is not a daily occurrence. For students, balance is mostly about juggling the demands of study, part-time work, leisure, family time, relationships and a dozen more things besides.

Especially in the senior years of school, students are asked to walk a metaphorical tightrope and manage their competing demands. Teachers, coaches, parents, friends, partners…everyone wants something different and if students are not careful, they may lose their balance.

The good news is that balance can be achieved by everyone. But there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to time management – what works for one student may not work for the next.

Where most students seem to go astray is that they believe that they need to handle everything alone. The pressure of report cards and portfolio conferences and exam blocks and revision and internal assessment all seem to start mounting and on top of school are all the other pressures that start to accumulate.

But do not worry! I am about to give you the real secret to achieving balance. It is four words, one sentence, in English class we call it an ‘interrogative’, it is easy to say and more often than not will assist in relieving some of the pressure building and aid you in achieving balance.

Here it is: ‘Can you help me?’

My encouragement for students is to recognise that sometimes we need help to get through those times when we are walking a tightrope of academic and social pressure and our legs start to get a bit shaky. Help is available! It may be assistance from teachers outside of class, someone to chat to, someone to help set realistic academic goals or a revision plan, someone to point you in the right direction for study, advice on careers, advice on extracurricular activities, and the list goes on.

When said to the right person, the question, ‘Can you help me?’ assists in easing the pressure. School is not meant to be the hardest part of life and help is always there to ease the burden.

Also remember that it is also extremely important to enjoy life outside of the classroom and during the senior years of schooling we want students to discover something that they are passionate about, something that they love to do, a hobby, a sport, a potential career option. No student should be weighed down by academic work to the exclusion of ‘having a life’ outside school. Obviously, there will be times when there are more assessments due or more exams coming and there is a need to knuckle down and study, but there will always be time to reset and relax as well. It really is all about balance.

If you are a student running into trouble because you feel like you are juggling too many things, ask for help from your parents, teachers or friends. Sometimes all that is needed is someone to listen, some sleep, some good food and to ‘hit the reset button’, in order to gain back our momentum.

As for me, perhaps I should test my newfound sense of confidence with a temp job at the circus.

Picture retrieved on February 18 from