26th NOVEMBER 2021

A few days ago I found myself in the Grade 1 quad, prior to the start of the school day. It really is wonderful interacting with our precious young pupils, and watch them excitedly share their thoughts on the day ahead with each other. Their honesty and ability to say it as it is, is most refreshing. Whilst in the quad, I noticed a small gathering heading towards the Grade 1 screening table. A group of Grade 1’s had hurriedly made their way to the table, and were all clamouring to escort a fellow Grade 1 to her classroom. The little Grade 1 in question was a pupil who has faced tremendous health challenges during the year, and who has shown immense courage and determination in persevering, despite her enormous health setbacks. On this day in question, her classmates gently assisted her to her spot in the quad, carried her bag, and made every effort to make sure she was comfortable, felt secure and at ease. Not once were any of the pupils prompted to help, or to lend a hand. It was an immediate, instinctive gesture – to reach out and help a fellow pupil who has travelled a long journey in terms of facing hardship. The Grade 1 staff and I stood to one side, each one of us realizing that we were witnessing what truly matters – the ability to reach out and be kind to another. All of us realized that we were privileged to be there, and humbled by this genuine act of kindness. And so I was reminded (yet again), that academic instruction is important , and learning one’s ABC’s is critical to achieving any success, however, what truly matters in not something that can be assessed, measured, or recorded. In the hectic life of a teacher and a parent; in our rush to teach, guide, assess, finish the curriculum, nurture, assist with homework and learning, and make sure that our children keep up (which can so easily sap the life out of us), may we always remember that what truly matters is what lies beyond the report card – whether we are teaching those within our care to be kind, to love unconditionally, to be forgiving, to share, and to make a difference. May these intangibles never become less important than what the academic results indicate – and may we place as much emphasis (if not more) on these essential qualities. As we all stood watching the Grade 1’s (and unashamedly shedding a tear or two), it was also good to be reminded that we teach more through our words and actions than anything else, and that our young pupils are desperate for examples of kindness, empathy and understanding – may we never cease to be those role models in a world where success is far too often measured by marks, possessions and bank accounts.