As we come towards the end of the first half term of the year, and with students getting some more time to themselves next week, I wanted to highlight the importance of reading and just one way that we as a school are trying to promote reading amongst students.
Research into education and children’s progress is very clear on the benefits of reading, including reading for pleasure. Students gain a greater breadth of knowledge, they learn to use more words in their writing, they can take in more information independently and can become more confident and articulate speakers. I’ve been teaching History to GCSE and previously A-Level standard for over 22 years, and I can always tell which students are keen readers just by looking at their written work. Reading literally broadens a child’s outlook and boosts their future potential, as well as being fantastic for their wellbeing and general happiness. What’s not to love?!
At school we’ve always encouraged a love of reading and have developed a great resource for students who want to pick up a great e-book for free. Our ‘Hub Online’ has almost 2,500 titles for students and staff to choose from, including hundreds of audio books which can be a great way for people to ‘get back into reading’. This week we emailed home to parents and carers a reminder of how the Hub can be accessed. I know that to many teenagers the appeal of social media or games consoles can be much stronger than that of a book, but when parents/carers and school can get a young person reading then great things can happen.
During the second half of last school year we spent a lot of time reminding our school community of the ‘Marple Hall Spirit’, the five qualities that we most admire and most want to see people displaying.
One way to keep the ‘spirit’ alive is to focus on a different element at a time. This year we’ll be picking one aspect per half term for the first five half terms of the year, starting this week with ‘Honesty’. Miss Gregory and Mr Follett have lead assemblies on this feature this week, and staff are handing out ‘honesty’ postcards to students when they spot something good.
As I myself said in assemblies in the spring, at MHS ‘Honesty’ is much more than just telling the truth. Honesty is about taking responsibility, understanding your own strengths and weaknesses, seeking help when you need it and standing up for what matters. As our definition of ‘Honesty’ states, we want people to ‘do what is right, not what is easy’. Being a teenager is hard, with so many distractions and temptations, but every day I see young people acting with integrity and bravery and maturity. Together they set the standard for others to follow and they give me an enormous amount of hope for the future.
Wednesday this week was World Teacher Day, one of a couple of days each year that are geared towards recognising those who work in education. To me of course it’s not just about teachers – roughly half of all my colleagues are not teachers, and the work that they do in school is every bit as important. That small point aside, I like these days that encourage people to take a moment to think about those who work in education. Our jobs are a privilege of course, but like many vocations they can also be challenging and demanding. Many of my colleagues regularly go above and beyond the call of duty and I certainly appreciate it, as I know our students do too.
From time to time we remind students that there are ways to show appreciation to those adults who help them out in school. To be honest they don’t really need a reminder, and I am always struck by how many of our students thank their teachers as they leave a class. It’s the small things that make a difference.
This week, if they want to, students have been filling in postcards to say a thank you to any members of staff who they feel particularly grateful to. It’s been lovely to see the cards being handed out and the way in which they are appreciated by members of staff. It’s a sign that even in a school as large as MHS, positive personal connections and mutual respect is there. Whilst many colleagues got plenty of postcards I was very pleased to get one from a lad in my Year 11 class. On it he reminded me of a time last week when, in a welcome but rare display of leadership (for him), this young man took charge of a moment of debate in the lesson. When I dared to question what he was doing he replied authoritatively ‘Sir, please sit down and be quiet whilst I am teaching the class’. I duly did as I was told. But, when he was taking too long to start work in our lesson yesterday, I took great delight in using his own words against him. To be fair, he took it very well. Working with teenagers can be great sometimes!
Have a good weekend and thanks to all the educationalists out there, wherever you are.
After a short interval, we are back and ready with our next school show! In 2019, we ‘Hand Jived’ and brought you ‘Grease Lighting.’ This year… ‘WE WILL ROCK YOU’!
Our students have been working extremely hard to bring “We Will Rock You” to Marple Hall. We have over 100 students involved as Cast, Crew, Band and Designers.
Join our cast and crew as we transport you to the future: a dystopian, globalized world, where everyone wears the same clothes and thinks the same thoughts. Computer-generated, mass-manufactured music has taken hold and musical instruments are forbidden. Rock music is all but unknown. Galileo, Scaramouche and the Bohemian’s rebel against the system and fight to bring the Music back. All set to Queens greatest hits: WE WILL ROCK YOU!
We have three evening performances on Tuesday 8th, Wednesday 9th and Thursday 10th November 2022. Doors open 6:30pm and the show starts at 7pm.