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September 28, 2013


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First, shared gratitude:

  • asparagus is in season
  • my garden is resurgent
  • holidays, like Thunderbirds, are go
  • finished marking year 12 exam papers yesterday
  • my final assignment for this semester is 200 words short of the limit and I still have one week to the deadline.

Then a pause to check the phenomenal Complaints Choir:

Sound familiar?

We could probably guess what they singing even without subtitles. How much variation would there be if the litany originated from your home town? Or your workplace?

Whinging raised on a pedestal of capital-a Art, especially when performed at festivals, is nonetheless relevant in terms of defining attitudes and shared cultural values.

Fertile territory for investigation.

Culture (Soviet Style)

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Second, my thus-far-cataloguing of communication strategies supporting alignment of vision at our school:

Shared verbal communiques are a weekly tradition where the expectation is that all staff on campus will gather in the main staffroom to participate in “Comms”. The day is significant since it falls after our weekly senior leadership meeting on Tuesday afternoon. Information divulged ranges from

  • Department of Education directives, such as during the recent strike action
  • operational matters relating to scheduled events, as well as
  • community updates, such as excursions, past students’ successes, courtesy announcements, baby showers, wedding preparations – good news about our community.

Everyone contributes, and the mood is typically positive and respectful. There was a habit of naming and shaming selected staff members who had made foolish mistakes, thus meriting the handover of a token to a chosen individual, but – thankfully – this practice has lapsed. Other significant features of the school’s culture relevant to success for all students and showcasing communication include the newsletter, Parents’ Evenings, assemblies and meeting norms.

How does that sound in comparison to your experience?

As a relative newcomer to this context, my gaze holds a ziplock of still-fresh. I am also wary of succumbing to any possibility of critiquing on the basis of odious opining about my last school…. or there are better ways of doing this….


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Surely, better is relative, and there are lots of right ways.

Which leads me full circle.

Our youngest daughter turns 20 next week, and she has been regaling us with dinner-time tales of her first practice at a primary school as an Ed Support Assistant.

Meanwhile, oldest daughter has booked her flight to London next May in order to guarantee saving money for the trip. She graduates from university next month. The trip is part of her Life Plan. Last night, my sleeve grew soggy with her tears because suffering through a dull lecture made her realise she had no idea what she wanted to do with the rest of her life.


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I realise I am loving the fabric, this suchness at the heart of living; our navigation of byways, detours and grand scheming.

Nothing could be better than savouring a moment, and each subsequent moment, alert to immensity along with the ridiculous, treasures all, taking them in, and being satisfied with just that.

There is nothing more.


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