Headmaster's Blog - 8th November 2017
We are of course hugely fortunate in having had the luxury of a two-week holiday but the welcome break has given way to a week of real variety and relentless intrigue.
A Modern Foreign Language Assembly, planning for next week’s impressive Careers Convention, preparation for two acts of Remembrance on Friday and Sunday, the highly charged finishing touches to the School production of Wind in The Willows, girls’ involvement in County Netball tournaments, a myriad of other sporting fixtures, the annual OW November Dinner and a visit by the Headmaster-elect, Andrew Holman ...... this week’s activity is relentless for young and old alike.
Increasingly I am peppered with a constant stream of questions about what has changed and what has remained constant since I assumed the Headship in 2004. Questions begging me to pontificate about every educational matter under the sun are in one sense flattering but my pearls of wisdom are no more valuable than those of the next person. As I gave some thought to what I might say to Saturday’s OW audience which they have not heard in some previous guise, I stumbled on research which suggested that adults remember only 2-3 teachers from their first 7 years of schooling and only marginally more from their secondary education. It is humbling when one is said by former students to be memorable (but only for positive reasons); when this is from our early years in teaching there is always the concern that the memory relates to naivety in the profession. I was reminded of this recently when I met up with a former student, now well into his 40s and a highly successful businessman and father of a truculent teenager himself. Little did he, or indeed I, know that I was someone who would go on to run a school myself although he commented incredulously that this was a scary thought (he was always engagingly blunt). He was amazed that anyone would remain a teacher for 36 years but I reminded him of why so many of us entered, and have remained in, the profession with no diminution of the passion for helping educate young people. I still do not believe that young people or parents can have any real idea about the amount of time and mental energy so many teachers invest in their jobs. Hopefully enough young people will feel that the teaching profession is an attractive career proposition and, to continue the theme, there will be an opportunity for young people to delve into this route at next Tuesday’s Careers Convention between 6:00pm and 8:00pm.
Given the appetite of the media for confronting the ills of society in the last couple of weeks on both sides of the Atlantic it was opportune that we ourselves opened up our souls in the parental drop-ins for parents of Year 11 in the week before Half Term. Ostensibly we focused on how we treat one another both in the real and the virtual worlds. We will post some notes from these meetings on the parent log-in area.
And finally ………… at times one feels genuinely inadequate when compared to others. There were 181 OWs who died in combat during WW1 – it is worth researching Lt Col Reverend Bernard W Vann VC, MC and bar, Croix de Guerre ….. a multi talented man who also happened to be a schoolmaster.