As we approach the end of the first month in this ‘Spring' Term, it already feels as if the Christmas/New Year celebrations are a distant past.
The mocks have been marked, reports written and all of us are concentrating our energies on the Parents' Consultation Evenings and the areas that need our attention in order to improve. I have had a number of conversations about the mistakes and silly errors that were made in the mocks. I have been pleased to hear about the lessons learned and how these will not be repeated. I am glad this happens during the mocks rather than the actual examinations. We all make mistakes but only some of us learn from our mistakes. Einstein said,
"The person who never made a mistake never tried anything new."
Mistakes can be made when you take risks, try something new and push yourself out of your comfort zone. Too many people just "play safe" and as a consequence, never "move on". I believe that it was Einstein who also said,
"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results".
During January, many of you have begun to receive offers from universities and employers. It is really pleasing that so many of you are being successful. Invariably, some of you may be a little disappointed, but remember, that for many of the most prestigious universities and courses it is a bit of a lottery. I believe that sometimes it is their loss. They are the ones who will be losing such outstanding students.
During this month, I have had the privilege of speaking to all of you about the next stage in your career and what you need to do to be successful. Clearly, hard work, commitment, the drive to understand and practice under examination conditions is essential.
Successful people in all walks of life always work extremely hard and are aware of what needs to be done. I hope that by now all of you have had one-to-ones with your subject staff and your tutors. I do hope that you are inspired by many of your subjects and that you are accessing all the support that is available at our College. Einstein said,
"It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge" …. and remember,… "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough".
At the start of term, we had our annual Awards Evening and it was wonderful to see so many of our students returning to collect prizes and share some of their experiences. Invariably, the students who received awards were the ones who had a 100% attendance record and who worked extremely hard. It was a privilege to meet with students whom I last saw in August.
Our musicians and dancers performed in the marquee and I realised the level of talent that we have at our College. It was fantastic to learn about the amazing success of our dancers at the National Semi-finals in Blackpool. We have managed to progress through to the National Final in Liverpool despite being the only College that is not a dance school. I am extremely proud of our students and staff who have taken dance to a completely new level this year. To return from the competition, laden with trophies and having learned so much, is truly incredible, especially as this is a 'first' for our College.
World events in January continue to be a worry. The growth of Nationalism and a "Forrest Gump" approach as guiding principles is a concern.
"Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind," and … "the world is a dangerous place to live: not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it," Einstein.
I believe in the power of young people, like yourselves, to change things for the better but I also believe that none of us can be complacent. We all have to believe in what we are doing and strive to make the world a more informed, safer and better place to live.
Finally, I am ever the optimist and as always, believe that this is the year for my beloved Leeds United.
My talks to you were about "time" and academic maturation so I will finish with two quotes from the genius that is Einstein,
"When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a cinder a second seems like an hour. That’s relativity."
"Solitude is painful when one is young, but delightful when one is more mature".
My next blog will incorporate quotes from my brilliant EPQ group that is a microcosm of our College.