01 Feb

Relative positivity

All of our work this week has been set against some difficult weather conditions. Those of us who remember, all too well, how cold the old building would have felt this week will some comfort in the fact that the building we now occupy is so warm, despite the conditions outside. Although there has been a degree of conversation about the weather we seem to have got away with it here in Rotherham and across South Yorkshire.
 
There was once a time when you all might have seen my weekly musings as nothing more than a weather report. I hope I’ve moved on from that. However, thinking about this and the weather this week got me thinking about how we perceive things and how everything is relative. We have suffered something of a cold snap. When I arrived at school on Wednesday it was -5C in the school car park. That’s pretty biting. However, just that evening I’m watching the news reports from North America where, due to the polar vortex, temperatures there have plummeted to -20C and colder across great swathes of the Midwest and Canada. Rivers have frozen, roads have become impassable and in major cities like Michigan families have been asked to ensure that they do not heat their homes to more than 17C to preserve energy for the coming weeks.
 
It just puts our little cold snap into something of a perspective. We may have a nip on the nose when we walk out and about, in the early morning, however we do not have to cover our faces to prevent eyebrows and eyelashes freezing. We may be able to walk and even run without worrying that inhaling that cold air too quickly could seriously damage our airways and lungs - as was the case in North America. 
 
I write this because it reminds me that the sense of perspective and the relative nature of things are so desperately important. Sometimes we see small issues around our school and, if we’re not careful, we can see them out of proportion. We can, and it’s not criticism, blow up a small issues into more major issues because we don’t have that reasonable comparison to make.
 
We set our standards as exceptionally high and we should maintain those standards. But when individuals do not quite get it right we should remember how well the overwhelming majority of pupils do work within the school and how they conduct themselves each and every day.
 
Seeing ourselves in the wider context is desperately important. Be that at a personal level or be that at an institutional level.
 
‘Empathy begins with understanding life from another person's perspective. Nobody has an objective experience of reality. It's all through our own individual prisms.’ Sterling K. Brown
 
Throughout this weekend it looks like it is going to continue to be cold, so wrap up warm , And take time to reflect upon how well we do wrapping ourselves up in that (metaphorical) warming electric blanket here that Oakwood; whilst managing some of our more challenging days.