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What do you see?
Welcome to one of my favourite lessons. I present a piece of paper with a black dot on it and ask students to describe what they see. Most of them start by saying 'there is black dot in the middle of the paper' and then get a bit stuck! Some will use their imagination a little more and say that it's an eye or a pinpoint on a map. Excellent - great imagination! Very few, if any, will focus on the whiteness and if they do I am really impressed. And really pleased. Some of you may have connected the dots by now (as it were). It's a metaphor; a representation of something with a deeper meaning. I'll explain.
Our lives are the white bit. The good stuff, the stuff that is precious to us, the stuff that makes us feel happy and smile. Here's the thing though, when we have a problem or crisis or get upset by something, we focus all our attention and negative energy on this; we focus on the black dot and we forget or ignore all the whiteness. It's easy to do - the problem needs solving and we need to channel energy into getting rid of it. But it's so important not to forget about the good stuff. Even during the pandemic, there has plenty of whiteness. We have been forced to adapt our lives but that adaptabilty which is so strong in humans is a positive outcome of this. We have adapted and we have shown what it means to be resilient and determined human beings.
Sometimes things in the communtity upset us and we focus all our attention on it but I'd like to focus on the white bit for a few moments. You can measure a community in hundreds of ways but the way I think we should measure it is through kindness. If a community is kind to one another it works. People look out for each other, they help, they contribute and that kindness brings people together and makes them stronger as a collective. This week, our community showed just how strong it was. It came together as one on Friday and the kindness was overwhelming.
Usually a non-uniform day raises £1 per student so on Friday we expected to raise about £450 for the Purfleet Trust, a charity based in King's Lynn to support homeless people. This year, however, we set up ParentPay so we could accept donations and the floodgates opened. By Friday morning, we (you) had raised £350 and the students hadn't even arrived yet! And it kept coming in. As I write, we are knocking on the door of £1000 to support these vulnerable people in winter and what a difference this will make to their lives. With a huge donation of warm clothes and shoes, we hope to eliminate the black dot in their lives at least for a while. What an effort. In a time when many people have been made redundant or are surviving on much less money than normal, the kindness from our community in Littleport was incredible. Thank you so much. And thank you to Krystal Sturman, our brilliant Youth Worker, who came up with the original idea.
Year 10 will most likely be in 'black dot mode' this coming week as they sit their first set of assessments this academic year! No-one likes exams (do they?) and it's easy to feel pretty negative about them. So where is the white bit? There are lots actually. One white bit is that they will all be over in a week and then we can look forward to a break at Christmas. Another other white bit is that, no matter what the results are, we will know what they need to do to improve. It is a vital step in the journey and we will all learn lots from the results. It's another step towards the final destination. From all of the staff at LECA, good luck Year 10. Do your best and don't give up and most of all be INSPIRED.
Have a great week and push that black dot off the page.