What a year!! The worldwide covid pandemic has certainly thrown up some challenges for everyone this year. Be it myself, being stuck in the UK and unable to get out here until Christmas, and then having a School that is essentially empty. To the challenges of the teachers who have all had to adapt to teaching online, and modify all their lessons accordingly. To you the pupil who has had to contend with being socially removed from your friends, and also having to learn online which is never as good a face to face. We have all had significant challenges but we have bounced back. Humans are wonderful creatures and their ability to dwell on the positive and be optimistic is one of our great traits. Our ability to be resilient is also another vital characteristic, and one future employer will look for. Being resilient means the “act of rebounding,” from Latin “resiliens”, present participle of resilire “to rebound, recoil”. Your ability, the ability of everyone to bounce back has been phenomenal, and must not be overlooked.
The year has also enabled us to practice life long learning. As a School I have challenged my teacher to continue to learn new ways of engaging teaching and interactive lesson planning. But I also hope that you have adopted this mentality as well. Personal fulfilment and development that come from life long learning refer to natural interests, curiosity, and motivations that lead us to learn new things. We learn for ourselves, not for someone else. And the benefits are immense.
Sometimes we get stuck in a rut doing things simply because we have to do them, like going to work or cleaning the house. Figuring out what inspires you puts you back in the driver’s seat and is a reminder that you can really do things in life that you want to do.
Re-igniting what makes you tick as a person reduces boredom, makes life more interesting, and can even open future opportunities. You never know where your interests will lead you if you focus on them.
While we’re busy learning a new skill or acquiring new knowledge, we’re also building other valuable skills that can help us in our personal and professional lives. Skill development can include interpersonal skills, creativity, problem-solving, critical thinking, leadership, reflection, adaptability and much more.
Becoming more knowledgeable or skilled in something can increase our self-confidence in both our personal and professional lives. In our personal lives, this confidence can stem from the satisfaction of devoting time and effort to learning and improving, giving us a sense of accomplishment.
So I very much hope that while you have had the time you have tried to devote some of it to learning new things?
Finally, this year has reminded me of another latin phrase: Carpe Diem – seize the day. Don’t wait until later to do something. I have heard from many pupils that they have left their revision and their surge of effort until the last minute. I would urge you to work hard now. Adopt that new club or skill. Try something new now – don’t put it off. Make the most of every opportunity, lesson, exam, assessment. Predicted grades may be here for a while. Exams may never be the same again – continuous assessment might be the way forward. So don’t leave it until the end. Do it now!