What we strive for

I came home from work beyond shattered. It was a long day, and a wet and snowy commute.

Not too many lessons today, but some complex marking, setting up catch-up tests for a few, reviewing the material-flow for the coming terms and supervising a chemistry Olympiad because the chem team is short-handed. I am improving my digiboard technique and managed to get some good responses and actual thinking out of the fourth-years (US 11th grade?). Some of my guys went in for the mathematics Olympiad: I am ridiculously proud of them.

I stumbled home and made cheese fondue with the boys. They made me smile and reminded me of what we fight for, why this is a good game. Teaching is making a larger circle of light, the spreading of reason and compassion into the world. It is worthy of every effort.


Light and mandarins


It's the end of a long day and I am watching a group of pupils sit tests they they had missed due to illness or retried due to low marks.

We are all tired and the light is slanting in. As the hour stretches out I am awed by the intent heads, the concentration, the care and desire for mastery. This is a tiny battle, a small place to conquer, but it is theirs and as important in their lives as anything that adults agonize about.

I have not got the concentration to start some marking, so I sort out some reports, tidy my admin and peel a mandarin. When I started at a new school, the European School of Brussels, I remember one of the other kids coming back from the tuck-shop with a Mars bar and, without even thinking about it, breaking it up and sharing it out.

I took a piece and immediately knew that sharing was the way in this new place.

So now, in a quiet classroom, I place a few segment of mandarin by each bent, tired head.