Friday, 2nd March 2018
What a week it has been!
We had a wonderful performance on Tuesday when so many boys from Forms 3 and 4 played instruments in a concert which was much enjoyed. I was so struck by the number of boys who took part. Some played the guitar, some the cello, many played the piano, some whilst singing. There was so much talent, so many people who were willing to demonstrate their skills. I was so heartened that the art of performance was being so much practised at such a young age. I also love the way in which young people in particular show their character when they play; some seem very shy, perform as quickly as possible and then throw themselves back into their seats. Others don't want to leave the stage following their fleeting moment of glory. Others smile and bow, some frown – what a joy every aspect of such an event is.
On Friday the PA held their chess event. David Zakarian, a parent and FIDE Master, took on 26 opponents in simultaneous chess matches. Slowly and deliberately he went round every board making a move and then passing on to the next person. I was completely transfixed by his concentration; the attention he gave to each pupil spoke so strongly about the respect with which he was treating them. The concentration that some people are able to show is remarkable. The fact that we have many chess players in the school is a very healthy sign in terms of the training of people's minds....
Yesterday Pre-Prep and Nursery celebrated World Book Day. People came in all sorts of guises and Miss Farmer, dressed as Angelina Ballerina, hopped around elegantly asking everyone which character they were dressed as. She had more luck than I did. As I stood in position on Brewer Street that morning, one of the boys arrived, beautifully clad in a most colourful costume. I asked him who he had come as. He looked a little concerned, glanced at his costume and then said to me quietly "I don't know!". However, by the time Miss Farmer asked him, he was entirely clear. The day before, I found on my desk a wolf mask, a pair of beastly claws and a hairy tail. There was no explanation. I decided that I would wait and see what was expected of me. The next morning when I went into the office, the normally efficient and professional staff were sporting pig costumes. Clearly I had been cast as the Big Bad Wolf and they had taken on the role of the three little pigs. Whether this was a comment about my management style I was unable to tell. At any rate, it certainly entertained the Pre-Prep pupils when we arrived en masse. I wore my tale to teach Form 5. They had a few guesses as to whom I was from the nature of my tail – The Hound of the Baskervilles? Mr Fox? I did a helpful little roar and someone said the wolf from Peter and the Wolf. The wolf from Little Red Riding Hood? No, the Big Bad Wolf. One boy said: "Ah, that's why Mrs Stanley, Mrs Varney and Mrs James are dressed as the Three Little Pigs." "Little!" said another. "But they're all much taller than we are!" Sometimes one has to use one's imagination!
March 1st is, in my book, the first day of spring. As I stood in the playground watching the pupils sledging in the snow, I was not particularly struck by the spring-like qualities of the weather. Really, it has been quite extraordinary. The boys have been very happy, throwing snowballs, sliding on the snow, making the most of the weather – adapting to the conditions. I think that is something that has often struck me about young people – they seem to adapt very easily to new conditions, far more easily I suspect than adults. I think that to them, this is how things are. That is a very useful quality as it allows them to cope with the many situations they will find themselves in and will allow them to take advantage of those situations. On the other hand, it does mean that we should act with sensitivity. There may be conditions which they will accept and consider normal which are not best for them and it is always up to us to ensure that we go forward with caution, ensuring that the conditions which we provide for them are ones which are the best ones for their flourishing.