One of the sad facts of becoming a Head in any school is the inevitable consequence that you suddenly find yourself spending considerably less time with children. One of the greatest pleasures of the last 20 years of my working life has been tutoring a group of young people each year and being able to be involved with, and affect, many of the trials, tribulations and successes of their everyday lives.
So now, instead, I find myself finding any opportunity to spend time with the young people in our care. One of my new school year’s resolutions has been to sit and eat with children each lunchtime rather than at the overflow staff table. Much though I enjoy eating with my colleagues, their conversation can be ever so slightly dull (think policies, protocols and requests for more money for something in their department)! When lunching with the children, however, I get to share their stories and laugh at many of the silly things that they enjoy. It never ceases to amaze me just how capable the children are of taking an ordinary day and making it extraordinary. Somehow they are able to find the fun in the mundane and squeeze every last bit of humour out of any situation.
This reminds me of a quote that I have heard many times over the years, ‘Grow old...but never grow up’ (this is sometimes attributed to Johnny Depp though I can’t be sure about this)! Each time I hear this I count my blessings that I work where I do and endeavour to spend even more time with the children. So, next time you try to book a meeting with me, you might just find that I’m not available, and I sincerely hope that it’s because I am skipping with Form 3 in the playground or playing conkers with Form 4 in the woods!
John F Gilmour