From the Director of Curriculum Innovation and Development

As the Year 12s finished their last formal class, I asked one student ‘How are you feeling?’ The reply was quick and given through a great smile, ‘I’m feeling fabulous!’

Now fabulous can be interpreted in one of two ways. Fabulous can mean extraordinary, or it can refer to a myth, no basis in reality. In some strange way, I think perhaps without realising it, that student had perfectly summed up how many Year 12s are actually feeling: extraordinary yet simultaneously a little removed from reality. Fabulous.

When we think of Fables, the first thought that springs to most minds are the famous fables of Aesop. Aesop lived in Greece around 600BC, and he is credited with writing such famous fables as The Tortoise and the Hare and The Lion and the Fox. Fables, rather like parables, are simple stories with deep messages, but Aesop’s fables are now very much viewed solely as stories for children, not often read by adults. I am not sure which audience Aesop was originally writing for however his messages certainly resonant with any age group and, interestingly, many modern authors are increasingly getting messages across by utilising the idea of the fable.

I recently read an interesting story about commitment and improvement. The story went something like this:

In the garden, there was a large apple tree. Each year, the tree produced dry, wrinkled and rotten fruit. The young woman of the house would gaze out of her lounge window and see the diseased tree with its rotten fruit, year after year, an awful sight. One day she observed her husband walking towards the tree with a stepladder, a saw and a large staple gun. As she watched, she witnessed him saw off some branches, chop away all the rotten fruit, and then she noticed a bag he was carrying. From the bag, he pulled out beautiful fresh, stunningly green and red bunches of apples, and he proceeded to staple them to the many branches still left. From her window, the tree now looked amazing.

Of course, in due time, those apples would wither away. The apples were not really part of the tree, they were not connected, they were not being nourished and the tree was still diseased. From a distance, the problem had indeed been solved but the real cause of the problems had not been addressed, and they would return.

This story is perhaps fabulous, but one that we can reflect upon in our own lives. At times, do we attempt ‘to simply staple apples to the tree’ because from a distance, or temporarily, our problem is addressed? Do we find that easier than addressing the root causes? Does it say something about our commitment, about our desire to improve?

As our Year 12s start their examinations, can they say that they have committed themselves fully to their studies, revisiting every note made, following every feedback provided and attempting every past paper? Alternatively, have some, started revision a little too late? Perhaps side tracked by Instagram and Facebook, or already switched real focus to post-exam life? Addressing the root cause or simply stapling apples? It is not just Year 12s though – I think each and every one of us, myself included, can look back on 2017 and look forward to 2018 and really ask, how many apples have we stapled and how many root causes have we addressed? Commitment and improvement are not easy, but the view from the window lasts much longer, and that is no fable. Fabulous.

Mr Adrian Puckering, Director of Curriculum Innovation and Development