“If you smile at me, I will understand, ‘cos that is something everybody everywhere does in the same language.” Crosby, Stills and Nash

Very true, and working with students from over 25 different countries, we see this in action every single day. Mealtimes, class times, clubs, activities, trips and boarding time all have students from a whole range of different countries sitting, working, playing and laughing together. That is what is so special about being in an international school. Students mix naturally because they are curious, want to play, want human contact, friends and to find out about one another. They do not see religion, race, skin colour, age or nationality, they just see their friends.

I was chatting to a colleague the other day about how necessary play is and what an essential part of learning and friendship it is. He was telling me a story of being on a DofE expedition where the students invented an incredibly complex game involving apples and Pringles tubes-sounds like great fun to me! I in turn, was telling him about a ball game that Padworth students used to play, equally as complicated, and involved numbers, throwing, catching and, to be honest, I’m not entirely sure what else! Watching students play these games, smiling and laughing with each other is one of the most rewarding parts of our jobs as teachers.

We had presentation day last Friday and seeing the smiles on faces at this event is always heart-warming and rewarding. Students were awarded prizes for achievement as well as attainment which, for those of you who read my blog last week, will understand why I believe that is an important distinction. We also then had our annual summer concert on Wednesday with fabulous performances from students and staff alike. I always remind everybody-especially those not performing-that it is not easy to stand up in front of others and perform-be it in assembly, presentation day, a concert or simply in class; the rewards can be enormous, but it takes guts. Listening to the performances and seeing the reactions of the students who had come to support, along with those who were performing was lovely.

A Level and GCSE examinations are in full swing. A little smile can reassure, comfort and calm. Try it.

Have a great weekend wherever you are and don’t forget to pop in and see us if you are in the area

Best Wishes

Chris Randell