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Tiny acts of kindness – and not so random – Headmaster’s Blog – Wednesday 26th April 2017

April 26, 2017
Blog post thank you headmaster

Tiny acts of kindness – and not so random

I have been studying the printed calendar for our new term and this week we have called the week ‘Random Acts of Kindness week’. As part of this I have been discussing with the Head of PSHE and the Coordinator for the Houses, how best we might introduce the week in assembly.

On the very day I was considering this, a colleague (unconnected with my discussions) passed me a link to an article in the Times Educational Supplement which is worth quoting at some length. It is a former Head’s reminiscence:

He is a kid who I’ve barely noticed before.

I’ve been teaching the class for just a few weeks and, as is always the case, certain heads are starting to raise themselves above the parapet: the defaulters, the jokers, the forgetful and the attention-seeking.

But this lad has been quietly going about his own business. He always gets the work done; he rarely forgets to bring equipment in. He does enough to get by; he never quite impresses. 

A quiet revelation

On this particularly Monday morning, my glass is decidedly half-empty: I’ve failed to clear the previous evening’s marking, I’ve forgotten I’d run out of milk the day before and it’s been pissing it down for three days continuously. For a reason I can’t be bothered to fathom, this lad has turned up ahead of the others.

Impatiently, I usher him in out of the rain and, without speaking, he shuffles through the door. I curse him for dumping his dripping bag onto his desk, and he wipes the surface water with his coat sleeve, creating a small but significant waterfall over the sides.

What follows might be unremarkable, but it stays with me: I am getting the chairs down from the desks when, still silent, he starts to help. I watch him for a moment before continuing. When we’ve finished, I return to my desk and sort through random worksheets.  He speaks: 

“Sir: can I give anything out for you?”

I look at him. He’s one of the quiet yet soulful types: big, warm, brown eyes, eager to please. My surprise is an embarrassment of blurts: I thank him as I hand over the sheets; I thank him again as he carefully place each sheet on each desk; finally, I thank him for the umpteenth time as he and his comrades leave the room on the next bell. 

But it has lifted my whole week like nothing else might have done. And to this moment, I can’t work out why such a tiny gesture moves me as much as it does.

Perhaps he has caught me at a low ebb; perhaps it is the fact that such acts of kindness seem few and far between if you’re not looking for them; perhaps it is simply the quiet courage of this boy’s approach. 

And so I see this individual, and those like him, in a strange new light.  

Having just read this, I went away from my desk for a while only to return later and to find a post-it note stuck where I couldn’t miss it on my ‘phone. It has been written by a younger pupil (the writing is a giveaway) who could have had no idea how busy and stressful a day I had had to that point. The note read:

Headmaster.

This is just a note to say thank you for all that you do.

We don’t see that you work when we are not in school.

Thank you.

Suddenly my day became so much brighter!

Ballarfd School Headmaster Stairs Alastair Reid

Headmaster of Ballard School; Alastair Reid

Alastair Reid (Headmaster)

We tweet from @BallardSchool 

Ballard School is an independent, private co-educational school in New Milton, Hampshire, providing an outstanding level of education for nursery to GCSE. With small class sizes and proven academic excellence, we strive to nurture the academic potential of all students. Learn more about our academic programmes, pastoral care, facilities and school ethos by visiting our website or by requesting a prospectus here.

Idleness can be good for you! -Headmaster’s Blog – Wednesday 12th April 2017

April 12, 2017
flying-aeroplane

Idleness can be good for you!

Each week I include a quotation at the top of our bulletin to parents and repeat this on my Monday briefing notes for staff. I pick up the quotations in various ways. Sometimes it is something I have seen on a classroom wall, read in a newspaper or simply researched using a theme that seems appropriate for the time of the year.

Just this week I had a staff member come to see me and she was brandishing a copy of the quotation I had used at the end of the term. When someone approached me in this fashion (as reported in another blog) I get momentarily rather nervous: is this for good or for ill? In this case it was the former. She wanted to say how encouraged she had been by the quotation and had, now that the holidays were underway, taken the advice literally by sitting on a bench under a tree and lying back observing the sky. This was the quotation:

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time

(John Lubbock, 1st Baron Avebury 1834-1913, English naturalist)

We will all find our leisure and our rest in different ways and that in itself is good. The important thing is that we do rest, recuperate and refresh. I think it was John and Charles Wesley’s mother, Susanna, who had 19 children and the only way she could find a time to rest (and to pray) was to sit in her kitchen with a towel over her head! When she did this for a few minutes each day her children (and husband, Samuel) knew they should give her space.

It is important, in my view, that couples give each other ‘space’ to be themselves. This may be to allow each other to pursue a hobby or meet with a friend, to go for a walk alone or even to indulge in an extreme sport. I mention the latter only in so far as I was privileged to receive a birthday present of a flight in a 4-seater aircraft this week. My wife was offered a seat, too, but felt it best that I experience this ‘lifetime wish’ on my own – or at least with an experienced pilot! It was indeed exhilarating and, for me, an unusual and unexpected treat.

flying-aeroplane

Taking the opportunity to do an extreme sport or something which’d been on your wish list – part of relaxing when on holiday.

Our children will observe how we take our rest and refreshment and this will give them an example and a lead for their own lives, of course. Let’s not scorn the moments to ‘stop and stare’ (perhaps with mobile technology turned off), to rest a while and to ‘listen to the murmur of the water’.

Alastair Reid (Headmaster)

We tweet from @BallardSchool 

Ballard School is an independent, private co-educational school in New Milton, Hampshire, providing an outstanding level of education for nursery to GCSE. With small class sizes and proven academic excellence, we strive to nurture the academic potential of all students. Learn more about our academic programmes, pastoral care, facilities and school ethos by visiting our website or by requesting a prospectus here.

Spanish Exchange Trip 2017 – Post Five

April 11, 2017

Spanish Exchange Trip 2017 – Post Five

For our other posts from the 2017 Spanish Exchange Trip with El Centro Ingles, see Post Four,  Post Three, Post Two and Post One.

A fantastic end to our Spanish Exchange for 2017. 

We spent time in school participating in a Spanish conversation lesson, then took part in the school’s annual giant salt picture, creating the Ballard School shield!

salt-picture-Ballard School-sheild-Spain

The Ballard School shield – created out of salt!

salt-picture-spain

More of the salt pictures created in the school’s annual salt picture making day.

The Ballard students were a credit to their families and their school, embracing every new experience with enthusiasm and mixing so well with the Spanish students. We’re already looking forward to their return visit at the end of June 2017.

wp-1491905795098.

Mrs B receiving a shield to thank her for her work with the Spanish Exchange.

Mrs B was very touched to be presented in assembly with an engraved school shield by the Spanish school, thanking her for her contribution to the exchange.

We tweet from @BallardSchool. For more from our Modern Foreign Languages department, please visit their webpage.

Ballard School is an independent, private co-educational school in New Milton, Hampshire, providing an outstanding level of education for nursery to GCSE. With small class sizes and proven academic excellence, we strive to nurture the academic potential of all students. Learn more about our academic programmes, pastoral care, facilities and school ethos by visiting our website or by requesting a prospectus here.

 

 

 

Junior Ski Trip 2017, Les Arcs – post eight 

April 8, 2017

Update: Coach loaded and on it’s way. Toilets used so no planned stops. 🙂

Update: return flight delayed. New eta at Ballard School is 3:00am Sunday morning.


Last nights disco was fantastic and the children had the choice of a swim or shopping this morning.

Junior Ski Trip 2017, Les Arcs – post seven

April 7, 2017

Wow – what a final day. Freestyle park was the order of the day! A picture tells a thousand words… so here’s 15k for you! 🙂

Junior Ski Trip 2017, Les Arcs – post six

April 6, 2017

Awesome day skiing in the sunshine, lots of jumps in the fun park and scrumptious pizza for dinner! Mrs LeGood

Reminder: return flights are 12hrs later than originally advertised so our eta at Ballard School is half past midnight on Sat night / Sun morning.

Junior Ski Trip 2017, Les Arcs – post five 

April 5, 2017

Sorry for the delayed blog this evening. After today’s skiing the pupils had a lesson in apres from the local seasonairs! 🙂 

As for the tutu in yesterday’s pictures… this highly acclaimed ski accessory is awarded each night to the ‘donkey of the day’ from the previous day on the slopes. 

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