It is a scene played out around many family dinner tables. Parents, anxious to ensure that all is well with their children ask the question, “What did you do at school today?” The response is often rather disappointing for the doting adult; after all, we as grown-ups want vigour and challenge from education, not ordinariness. Contemporary society values speed, novelty, celebrity and excitement. Modern education has produced the cult of excellence for all and grade inflation means that no-one can fail. Children are expected to be little Miss or little Mr. Perfect. Any number of inspirational speakers will tell you (for a fee) that everyone is capable of everything and that we have an entitlement to lives of vivid colour and constant reward. We seem to have lost interest in the quiet importance of something being ordinary and well done. Perhaps too we have lost sight of the benefits of having to learn carefully and slowly, of having to try hard to gain a reward and the value of learning from our mistakes.
This week at the BSP was an ordinary week. There was no single eye catching event like last week’s Around the World Day. The sports teams have not travelled to other countries to play their games. The musicians practised and our thespians are resting. There is no scoop for today’s newsletter. No bold headline screams from the front page. But ordinary at the BSP is still interesting, still important and most definitely still unique. Lessons ran smoothly, learning went on, small personal triumphs will have been achieved; friendships developed and enjoyment will have been had. Nothing earth shattering, nothing ground breaking but lots of small and significant events, occurrences that might not even make it to the daily dinner time post mortem. Ordinary, despite what the gurus might tell us is not weak or unsuccessful, “excellence” as John Gardner once put it “is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well”.
Our ordinary is unique. We have campuses which over look an ever changing river, vivid green parakeets nest in our tress and we are seeing the first vestiges of spring. We have a community of fifty four nationalities teaching each other lessons of tolerance and understanding on a daily basis and we are all engaged in the most exciting of missions, that of learning. And that is just an ordinary day in an ordinary week where nothing much happened. Ordinary is perhaps underrated. I hope that you have a restful half term.