Every day in a school brings its memorable moments, but every now and then, a day comes along when those moments converge and one can’t help but think ‘Could this be any better?’ Thursday was such a day.
Firstly, I spent a fascinating 15 minutes in a hybrid IB Diploma Programme maths lesson. The maths was a little beyond me but it was both humbling and inspiring to see the teacher managing the learning simultaneously of the students in the classroom and the students quarantining at home. Ms B segwayed effortlessly from one to the other, sharing her interactive whiteboard throughout the lesson with the students at home.
A little later in the day, I discovered that a teacher who I had been admiring for his amazing primary level French videos was actually a former St John’s student – James Innes, now a young Primary School teacher in Glasgow, had been lauded in the Sunday Observer and the Times Educational Supplement (praise indeed) as a lockdown hero in his quest to ensure that young learners would continue to have access to some fun and stimulating French material. It was great to connect with James and we hope to link with him and some of his students soon!
In the afternoon, I had a classic ‘only in a school’ moment, that experience that always makes me think back to the child in the penguin costume in ‘Gregory’s Girl’’, dubious teen classic from the 1980’s. As I was making an afternoon tour of the school, popping into the occasional classroom, but mainly keeping my distance in the current times, I was crossing the Performing Arts Centre foyer when I heard, loud and clear, the unmistakable voice of Mr Graham in full melodramatic mode proclaim “Everyone must die!”. Under normal circumstances, potentially alarming, but within the Graham theatre space context, far less so! Of course, there would be a perfectly credible explanation for this blood-curdling order so I simply had to investigate. Observing from a safe distance (Covid coupled with fear of death), it quickly became apparent that the students were engaged in some imaginative improvisation. The class had been given an outline scenario (four friends, at a birthday party, something happens, everyone dies) had one minute to discuss how they were going to create this dramatic scene, then one minute to perform. Needless to say, the tragi-comic results were highly imaginative; one involved a small inferno set off by the birthday candles at a nail-painting party!
Definitely a day to remember!