Voltaire encourages us to cultivate our garden, and those of you who follow our Facebook or Instagram accounts will have seen that it is exactly what we have been doing lately; in primary and in secondary we have been planting seeds.
It’s an Eco-School initiative dreamt up by our students, and assisted by the coordinating teachers, Mr Dawson and Mr Milleret. It’s a fine example of actions speaking louder than words, especially when it concerns learning and understanding that creating green spaces at school will change our teaching environment.
At the same time, the adults of TES have been sowing their own symbolic seeds, during the visit of CIS and WASC, two organisations that came to TES this week to guide us in our self-evaluation of our practices and methods, and to help us decide on TES’s strategic direction for the coming years.
From Monday to Thursday, Barbara Parker and Martin Kneath met with parent and student representatives, teachers and staff – I would like to extend my thanks to all of those who participated. The TES leadership team, of which I am a part, was particularly involved in proceedings. Over the course of the coming 18 months, the self-evaluation process will spread to the community at large (so get ready to fill in some questionnaires).
In the meantime, as I was saying, it is time to plant some seeds: to ask ourselves what our school will look like in the future, taking into account our unique context: four Sections with specific needs, a family profile that has evolved in recent years, giving TES stronger Taiwanese roots than it had 10 years ago, and in a more general sense, our place in a world of education that is becoming ever more market-driven, a world that struggles to differentiate between real innovation and passing trends, and concepts that can have a lasting impact versus superficial notions.
Although TES has been around for quite a few years now, its identity remains fallow land. It is still defined today as four Sections under one roof rather than as one common project. The changes to TES’s governance structure and the desire of the board of directors to implement a ‘one school’ organisational model mean we need to rethink who we are. It is more important than ever that we learn to know each other, that we listen to each Section’s particular worries and concerns; the four Sections are at a different stage in their respective developments and we don’t all encounter the same obstacles at the same time.
It can be hard to hear that certain things we do provoke questions or concerns from the others. For the past few days, we have been looking at ourselves and each other in the mirror and, while it would have been tempting to ask who is the fairest (Section) of them all, our work consisted instead in identifying our limits and our margins of manoeuvre, and selecting the seeds that we need to sow in order to become even better.