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On Monday after school, our wonderful parents association, the Lion‘s Pride, put on an eye-catching spread of cheese and wine to mark World Teacher Day. The cheeses were not just visually stunning, but also delicious – I am slowly waking up to the fact that Belgium most definitely takes food seriously. There were gently oozing Camembert-style cheeses, piquant blue and some tangy hard cheeses accompanied by figs, guava jelly, crackers and fruits. It was a seriously nice way to say thank you to the teachers.

Then on Tuesday, the school hummed with the activity of the Parent-Teacher-Student conferences. On days like these, it is really evident what special people teachers really are: subject specialists with a passion that they are able to ignite in their students, as well as caring individuals committed to bringing out the very best in their students. But at the conferences, it is also clear that teachers need to also possess huge reserves of energy and stamina. Most of our teachers saw parents and students back-to-back throughout the day at ten minute intervals. To remain focused, constructive and insightful, right until the last appointment, is really pretty impressive. However, stamina and energy are qualities that teachers possess in abundance – every teaching day is a full-on journey moving from group to group of young people, juggling the craft of the classroom’ with pastoral support, meetings, paperwork, routines, activities, visitors, planning, marking, preparation, special events – mixed in with a significant sprinkling of the unplanned and unexpected! Of course, these are all the elements which make teaching such a rewarding, stimulating and enjoyable profession to be in but, boy, do they require some energy!

So at the end of the week, it was a real joy to join the teachers for Fika Friday – a firm tradition in the St John‘s staffroom! Each week, one or two of the teachers take it in turns to provide a break-time accompaniment to the morning coffee. Today, it was the much anticipated turn of our Spanish teachers, Signora Gortari and Signora Bartolome, to provide the snacks – and they did so in style! Tempting tapas dishes of little salty fish, chorizo, tortilla, olives… with energy levels restored and a great buzz from the camaraderie and discussions, everyone sets off for the remainder of the day with a spring in their step. FICA Friday fabulous!

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