The School is alive again

Something strange has happened to the School. Disorientating. Walking around yesterday on a sunny afternoon I pass cricket nets buzzing with Second Form boys being coached by Mr Ward, alongside some of their classmates playing rugby. An Art studio has IB Physicists, a lab filled with historians. Down the Modern Languages corridors is Music, DTE and Art. Of course, the effect of zoning the year groups is that teachers are more often coming to the boys, lessening those rushes between lessons (for the boys certainly) and bringing those unusual sights and sounds to new parts of the site. On Big Side, IB boys work in their study periods. Lunch in the Marlar Halls. And on.
 
It's good of course to have this rich mix, preconceptions challenged and barriers broken down. But it comes of course at a cost, not least to teachers, who have to find – and they are finding – ingenious ways to bring their subject to unfamiliar spaces. Often it’s fine, and many of us should be able to teach anywhere (‘just give me a whiteboard…’ as the traditional ‘old school’ teachers says). But spare a thought for those whose ingenuity means, well, just more work. We often say the best teaching gets the boys to do most of the work. Well, often in practical subjects they can’t at the moment, so it falls back on the teacher. One (national) nagging worry: will our students become more passive again? We’re determined not for Whitgift, but still it’s a challenge.
 
A bigger challenge still is of course planning. If families can’t plan for a family Christmas (as seems highly possible), how can a school plan events? Simplest to cancel … but heartbreaking (to use the vogue word). Genuinely. 
 
Still, I do salute my colleagues’ ingenuity. They are being brilliant. And with sun shining on cricket and rugby alike, the buzz of teaching and learning and the School alive again, it’s hard to be other than an optimist.