For this second extra-ordinary week, I am going to do exactly what I’ve been urging the teachers not to – I am going to stick to the routine, to the familiar, to the traditional and to do what I always do – I am going to write you a letter!
A letter to let the students know how much we miss you – empty corridors, silent classrooms and deserted playgrounds make for a very sad school for those who continue to go to work daily. It can be difficult for us to make sense of what we are doing when we cannot see the ones we are doing it for, which is why I was delighted to see the photos of you, working from home, popping up on our Facebook and Instagram pages; they made me smile and consoled me. Thank you for being such studious students and for considering this complicated period as an opportunity to learn differently.
A letter to thank the teachers for the work they have been doing and for how open they have been to taking on board the feedback from families during the first few days of adjustment. It was a surprising and unexpected situation to be greeted with upon your return from the Chinese New Year holidays, and you have demonstrated phenomenal flexibility, positivity and adaptability. You have trained yourselves in the use of unfamiliar tools and technology in record time to ensure that you can keep in regular contact with your students and create a connection with them that is crucial for encouraging ongoing, uninterrupted learning.
A letter to reach out to parents and to reassure you that we can see all the time and effort you are putting in with their children at home. A particular nod goes to our teaching staff who find themselves working full-time while taking care of their own children too! We recognise that the workload is considerable and that we are asking a lot from you. So I’d like to say thank you for your patience and your commitment. Thank you also for the feedback you have sent our way, which has enabled us to modify and refine our tools to better suit your situation at home.
While everyone was at home this week, Andria and I took a few days off to accept an invitation to visit a school who are looking for a new head for the next school year. To be absent from a school where the students themselves are absent had a dizzying effect, but it allowed me realise once again that I can lean on my management team: Franck Lefèvre, Carine Capel and Nicolas Blanc held the fort and kept me informed of everything that happened at school as it happened.
We will be back on Monday morning to start our final week of e-learning. My agenda for the week includes interviewing the longlist of candidates for the position of Head of the French Section via Skype. We hope to be able to invite the shortlist of candidates to visit us during the first week in March. By then we hope that everything will be back to normal and we’ll be able to welcome them to visit our school in the best possible conditions.