I am sorely disappointed not to have been at the primary campus yesterday to visit the – by all accounts – magnificent FSPA Halloween Bake Sale, which delighted the little, and the not so little ones at EPC. Admittedly, I could probably have made it with a bit of schedule juggling, but I am terrified of ghosts, spiders and skeletons, so I thought it best to hide out at the Yangmingshan campus, where such creatures tend not to venture (although you do risk crossing paths with other types of creatures up there!).
Those of you who have been reading this weekly letter regularly over the past few years know that I make a concerted effort for it not to become a second weekly memo (one of those is enough) or a list of all the events that have taken place during the week (our Facebook and Instagram pages handle that already). They are difficult traps not to fall into, especially during periods of the year like this one when there is so much going on and it is extremely tempting to transform this letter into a platform for thanking the FS staff who are bringing such incredible projects to life.
An example of one such project that encapsulates the very essence of the French Section is the Philo-menal project. The theme chosen for this year is “Visible and Invisible”- what we can see and what we cannot. In the case of our school, the Facebook page with its eye-catching photos is an example of Visible. Our exhibitions, shows and events are also Visible. The work of the FSPA and their monthly meetings, preparing and coordinating events, on the other hand is often Invisible. As are the class contact parents who run LINE groups, tirelessly sending out reminders and making sure that information is being passed on. The secondary parent representatives who attend class councils, write up minutes of meetings and work closely with us on the vision for our secondary school can also be Invisible. The parents formerly known as the French Section Management Council are definitely Invisible, even though they continue to support me and dedicate a great deal of their time to this school. All of those who come in to our classrooms to cook, to sew, to present, to listen, to advise and to read often pass for Invisible.
Invisible too are the daily gestures that abound in our school, the attentiveness, the meals eaten together, the breakfasts at Lutetia (Cedric has an important place in our hearts), colleagues spending holidays with each other or using the opportunity of a trip abroad to drop in on a former French Section family in their new home – as was my own case during the mid-term break.
Without all of this – without all of these Invisible ties that bind, without the willingness to donate time and energy, without the pleasure that we get quite simply from spending time with each other and experiencing this adventure together – not a single project would be possible. So, after saying I didn’t want to say thank you every week, I am going to say thank you this week, to all of you who are a little bit Invisible, who work behind the scenes, supporting us and contributing to the ongoing success of our school.
Finally, a little thought for our colleague Marina Coten, from GS, who is going through a difficult moment. We hope that she gets better very soon, so that she can come back and find her place amongst us: we miss her energy, her good mood and her sense of humour. The support she has received from her colleagues this week is another example of Invisible gestures that go a long way. All of which leads me to a final thank you before I end – thanks to Adrien Garcia, who joined our team very recently as the primary school French supply teacher and who is replacing Marina in GS while she is on leave. If the photos of Halloween are anything to go by, he is fitting right in!