It has been another difficult year for everybody in education. COVID related absences haven’t made it easy to help students with catch-up in readiness for their examinations (if they go ahead).
And spiralling energy prices haven’t helped as we crank up the heating in classrooms with all the windows open.
The Christmas and New Year break offers some much-needed respite. Whilst we would hope that this is a joyous time of year it is a holiday that comes with its fair share of challenge and stress, considerable expense and, for some, a heightened sadness for absent friends and family.
I think of Frank Capra’s 1946 classic, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’. It’s Christmas Eve and George Bailey (played by James Stuart) is struggling to cope. He’s on a bridge and planning to take his own life. In his thoughts, the world would be a better place if he’d never been born.
Clarence Odbody (guardian angel) pulls him back from the brink and shows him a world in which George didn’t exist. It’s not a pleasant place and one in which so many people’s lives are much the worse for not having George ‘in their corner’. When George returns home, expecting to be arrested, he finds that the entire town have rallied round to support him. His brother, Harry, toasts him as the “richest man in town” and Clarence reminds him that no man is a failure if he has friends.
(I’m welling up here, as I type. If you haven’t seen this film, you really must. Apologies for the spoilers … but it has been out for more than 70 years.)
When I consider the trials and tribulations of a teaching career, I remind myself of how fortunate we are to have the opportunity to influence and impact on the lives of so many young people.
Here at Lincoln UTC, we have the good fortune of working with the most talented and delightful students. We equip them with the skills and provide them with the opportunities that will set them on the path for future career success. It’s a privilege to be ‘in their corner’.
The atmosphere in the UTC is unique and the relationships that exist are uncommonly positive. I know that all the staff here (teaching and non-teaching) share my view that we’ve never worked in a friendlier place.
In that way, I consider myself to be “the richest man in town” (Sorry, George!).
I hope that this year, across the breadth of Lincolnshire, Christmas tree bells ring loud as Clarences get their wings and all of us who work in schools raise a toast in appreciation of all the young people who make this the most rewarding job in the country.