Studies show that pupils who are new to secondary school experience a dip in academic performance.
For pupils leaving their familiar primary school, starting secondary school can be a bit of a shock to the system, just one cause of this dip.
Strong support networks need to be in place to help these children cope with this process to avoid lack of progress or even regression.
Here are just a few things new year 7s will have to contend with:
- A much bigger school building. Lots of opportunities for getting lost
- Far bigger cohort of peers. Lots of new friends and old friends feeling rejected
- More teachers. And they all have a different specialism and different styles
- More lessons and more opportunities to try new things
- A different uniform. For boys, it might involve wearing a tie and for girls it might involve wearing tights. Both items need some getting used to
- Being the youngest in the school. Year 11s can seem pretty scary
- Taking public transport to school. The potential to get lost (or distracted) increases
- Homework. There will be more if it
- New rules—and many are different to what they experienced in primary school
- Deadlines, pressures, decisions and a need to be more organised
- For children with specific needs, it can seem like they have to start all over again
For parents, it can be an anxious time as well: how will their little one cope with all these changes?
For teachers, learning the names of hundreds of new pupils can add a new dimension of difficulties to an already demanding job. And that’s not even adding into the equation the challenge of learning what these pupils can do or how they learn! This unfamiliarity can contribute to the customary dip in academic performance.
Fortunately, a little astrological knowledge can help ease this complicated process.
At some point during the academic year, these learners will experience their first Jupiter return: Jupiter will return to the same point it was in their natal chart. And if you understand anything about Jupiter, then you will understand why teaching year 7s can be as mad as a box of spiders.
A Jupiter return simply means a person will welcome new experiences, take to new opportunities, will be optimistic about their future, fascinated with new belief systems and extra excited about growing up.
This pretty much means the transition process, from an astrological perspective, is entirely age appropriate and these children are ready for it. It just takes a little faith on the part of the adults to help them through it. The kids will be absolutely fine.
By the way, Jupiter returns for pupils start taking place just after the first half term of the new academic year. This helps explain why year 7s are such angels for the first few weeks and then start getting out of control as the academic year wears on as more and more pupils reach their Jupiter return.
Specific issues for this cohort
With most non-astrologers only being aware of astrology through Sun Sign columns in newspapers, it takes a bit of a leap of faith to understand one fact about Jupiter and the transition process: the pupils, for the most part, will all have Jupiter in Libra and Saturn in Cancer. This immediately gives an astrological signature to the entire cohort.
To be more specific, Jupiter was in Virgo until 26 September 2004 and then moved into Libra. So children born before 26 September have Jupiter in Virgo and those born afterwards have Jupiter in Libra. Therefore the majority of learners have Jupiter in Libra (pro tip: put pupils’ names in your mark book by date of birth rather than alphabetical order)
Saturn was in Cancer from the very beginning of the academic year all the way up to 17 July 2005. So children born from September 1 2004 up until 16 July 2005 will have Saturn in Cancer and those born after that date will have Saturn in Leo.
Both Libra and Cancer are cardinal signs. For the most part and in the right circumstances, these children are motivated learners, ambitious and they tend to jump on things with great interest and then lose this interest over time. They need to be taught to pace themselves and to stick with the things they start until the finish.
Fortunately, for children who have been allowed to develop poor habits like quitting (for whatever reasons), the neurological developments that occur during adolescence means there is a second opportunity to instil positive life choices for this group. And guess what?
Because they are so willing to try new things at this moment in their lives, all it takes is a bit of coordination between home and school to set these new habits for a lifetime.
So what do these pupils need to be taught? Jupiter in Libra pupils are fascinated with relationships of all sorts. Putting them in pairs can be a nightmare. Placing them with someone they like and someone they hate can produce the same problem: no work gets done! They need to learn tolerance as well as the premise of a time and a place for everything.
These pupils also instinctively counterbalance any opinion. If you say something is probably not true, they will give you reasons that it probably is true. Use this to your advantage to keep them engaged in their learning.
Here are a few more astrological suggestions:
- These pupils enjoy a good row—as long as they are not the ones in the middle of it. Let them observe any one side of a debate and get them to answer the other side
- Strategic pairing: it has to be done so to make your life as a teacher easier, let them draw names out of hat rather than attempting to come across as if you were matchmaking for a future marriage
- Always encourage diplomacy: these pupils have it in aces, they just need a little nudging in the right direction
- These learners don’t like working on their own. Where possible, let them work with a buddy of their choice. They need to bounce ideas off of each other. Once they’ve done this, then get them to work on their own
- Be aware that these learners like to be in a nice environment and they usually appreciate good art, music and fine social skills. If you can find a way to incorporate these interests into a lesson, they will engage. (How hard can it be to use a fine painting, period fashion or a piece of music as a talking point to start a lesson?)
- Fine arts! If I were curriculum mapping for this year, I would incorporate lots of opportunities for these learners to dress up and enjoy visiting an art, fashion or dance exhibition or a concert. These opportunities would work well as rewards too
- Pastoral care needs to incorporate lessons in relationships. Break ups and the formation of new relationships will be distracting for them so they need to learn how to cope with these inevitable changes
- These pupils also need to develop a strong sense of self and need to be re-assured that it’s OK to say no to anything that makes them feel uncomfortable
- Oh and if you’re the kind of teacher who rolls out of bed and into the classroom, you need to be prepared to be judged for your wardrobe choice.
These bullet points are simplifications (one or two are tongue in cheek) that can be used in a classroom by any teacher. One of the things I loved most about being a teacher was learning alongside of my pupils. Anything can be brought into the learning process so as long as you are enthusiastic and unafraid to take risks by playing the fool (I was always good at that part), year 7 pupils will follow along too. In my career as a History teacher, I used meditation, yoga, singing, dressing up and games of all sorts to keep pupils interested.
Further refinement on this astrological signature can be found by looking at the individual chart of the pupil which needs to be done by a professional astrologer. If you're interested in more individualised information from a professional astrologer and teacher, leave a comment or send me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Coming Up: The Secret Fears of Saturn in Cancer
About the Astrologer
Alex Trenoweth was voted Best International Astrologer, 2015 for her dynamic presentation on Astrology and Education. Her book, "Growing Pains" is an exciting development in astrology as it combines classroom teaching experience, sound research and the potential to have a positive impact on struggling adolescents, parents, teachers and those who have been labelled "at risk". For queries, consultations or syndications, please contact Alex via www.alextrenoweth.com or leave a message in the comment section.
About the New Book
There are two wolves fighting inside of me, the old story goes, one wolf is good and the other is evil. “But Grandfather,” asked the child, “Which one wins?” The Grandfather answered, “The wolf I feed.”
We might like to think that being good is a natural instinct. In fact, doing the right thing takes a conscious decision. Every day, we are met with temptation to get ahead at the expense of someone else, to get away with something we know is wrong or to cut corners if we think no one is watching.
Following on from her powerful book on astrology and Education, “Growing Pains”, Alex Trenoweth explores the benefits of using “the bad guy” of the solar system: Saturn. Often avoided and seldom understood, if we understand our own Saturn then we can help others to understand theirs. Using case studies of highly successful people contrasted with convicted serial killers, Trenoweth deftly demonstrates the dire consequences of feeding the wrong wolf.