“Be like the bird who, pausing in her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings, knowing she hath wings.” Victor Hugo

Another long quotation this week, and this time on the theme of self-belief. I have only actually ever read 1 work by Hugo-“L’homme qui rit” and the reason I say work, rather than book is because, as was the fashion in the 19th Century, it is so long that it had to be published in 2 volumes; 2 quite lengthy volumes, full of description rather than action, narrative rather than talking…you get the picture. I will, undoubtedly, one day find the time for “Les Misérables” or “Notre Dame de Paris” but maybe not whilst I have a full-time job!

I think it is a truly lovely quotation and can picture the situation very clearly-I am sure we can all recall a time when we saw a bird do this. I am not sure if I have ever heard a bird sing at the same time, but certainly just take off again as though nothing had happened…

And that is the key as far as I am concerned. Having that self-belief, that self-confidence, that self-understanding and the acceptance that things can, do and will go wrong, but that we have the power within us to just carry on, serenely moving forwards, not letting setbacks stop us or get in our way.

How do we get those things? Experience, guidance, understanding, acceptance etc…How do we teach self-belief to our students? I guess it is by constantly reinforcing the positives, by giving timely and genuine feedback and praise, by encouraging participation and praising effort as well as (or maybe instead of) attainment, by having that safe learning environment and by getting our students to accept that mistakes are a perfectly normal part of learning.

Each time we have “Effort and Achievement” grades here at Padworth, it is the effort which is rewarded as I believe that it is effort which counts the most. Effort leads to achievement leads to attainment. Everybody is capable of getting top grades for effort and that is why we give out certificates for this.

So next time something goes wrong, and the bough underneath you breaks, sing a little song, give a little whistle, and carry on.

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