Last week some of my students stepped out in front of a van turning into the car park next to the school. The van slammed on the brakes and the driver gesticulated at the pupils. One of the students decided to gesticulate back. Clearly this is unacceptable behaviour. However, what I end up receiving is an email expressing that all my students behave in this manner, and that I must get hundreds of emails complaining about the behaviour of the students. Well…no.
Last week is a pretty good example. I received congratulations on the efforts and performances of the students involved in the “In the Field” concert to mark the centenary of the Battle of Aubers Ridge where Wadhurst lost 25 men in one evening during the First World War. I had emails from parents thrilled at the Sussex championship winning performance of our cheerleading team. On Friday one Year 8 boy completed the herb garden he had been developing for our food technology department, in his lunchtimes. Last week there was a number of fundraising events towards the Himalayan trip, where students have to raise the money for the trip themselves. Our Duke of Edinburgh students completed their work on the use of mobile technology with the third group from the University of the Third Age. One of those ladies took the time to tell me of her pride in watching our Sixth Formers, unrequested, go and buy cups of tea for those collecting for Remembrance Day on a particularly cold day. One of our Sixth Formers will goes to the local nursing home to play music and sing to its residents. The school has raised well over £15,000 this year for various charities culminating in the sponsored walk where the whole College, all the students and staff, walk the 13 miles around Bewl Water.
What I can tell you is this is no different from the work that young people do the breadth and length of this country. What we do we feel is remarkable, but having worked in a variety of schools it is the norm. Although, vilified by some, even those who occasionally react or mess about in the wrong ways, will still be those with the propensity for charity and good deeds. One of our most troubled students comes alive when working with children from local primary schools.
So, yes some members of our community get it wrong at times. Is there a section of society that doesn’t? Should we really speak in terms of damning all over the actions of a few? What I can promise you that day in and day out the young people we work with are truly remarkable.