I went to my 14 year old’s school carol service tonight, they do it at a local church with the community and Christian charity connections it’s a bit of outreach I guess. It’s been an annual event now for the past 7 or 8 years. Year 7’s do the choral honours and older kids get to accompany them instrumentally as well as a couple of teachers. They mix in modern carols and traditional ones, give sing along opportunities to guests throw in some readings, both biblical and contemporary poetry and a couple of lucky or brave students get their moment in the spotlight as a soloist. It’s a lovely evening with mince pies and drinks and is well attended by parents and staff and always the first official Christmas date on our calendar and always the one which gets us into the spirit of Christmas. We long since abandoned commercial Christmas and are much more fans of the spiritual, the season of goodwill, of peace and charity, thanks and togetherness so it’s right up our festive street.
What brings me to my reason for wanting to include this on my blog is the staff. It’s a night time event, starts at 7pm so usually means out of town teachers probably have a very long day, but they come and they enjoy it and some get involved if they can find a niche. What is more is that they stick around afterwards and chat, nobody seems in a rush to get away and it just struck me this year how involved the staff were (perhaps because I’m scrutinising teachers because of the PGCE).
At a time when extra curricular events are something teachers are accused of shying away from, there was no evidence of that tonight. Granted the majority of them were the senior management team and were probably subject to a three line whip but even so…
It just struck me what a good example they were setting, how delighted the kids looked to have their teachers chat with them and their parents in an informal environment, how refreshing it was to have teachers come up and actually know my son’s name and congratulate him on his performance (and all of the others). Some of them visibly relished an opportunity to talk to my daughter, an erstwhile pupil, about her almost complete degree and it was refreshing to see them still care about her and her future 5 years since she left them, advising her and congratulating her, showing real interest and genuine happiness at her achievements since school. OK so one of them seized an opportunity to put in a job application for his 16 year old daughter when he heard she is a supervisor in a retail outlet but that came after he showed an interest in what she had been doing… networking right?
It just struck me that this is the fun side of teaching, but more than that this is the bit that really matters and sticks in the mind and heart of students and their families, the extra mile stuff they talk about. It was a privilege to be a part of it, a joy to see it still happens and an example to follow when/if I get the opportunity.
Parents who are trainee teachers… we must be the most critical bunch of all yet blessed to have another perspective on teaching.