It’s the little things that count

Issue 52: 2/2/2024 International Stream From the Principal

There has been a noticeable increase in the call for organisations to look after the wellbeing of the people in their care in the past few years, and even more of an emphasis placed on employers to put this at the top of their agenda to help society navigate the constant change that seems to come with this VUCA world. So what do we do at FIS to help our families, and in particular, our students, tread an even path through the academic year?

In my 30 years spent in schools around the globe, I have noticed a trend in the way the mood of the community shifts during each term. This term is quite a short, intense 5 weeks from the Christmas vacation to the Chinese New year break. The first two weeks were relatively calm: staff and puils returned, quickly hit their stride in getting down to some great learning and a sense of focussed positivity took the community along. Then came the hump; Week 3. Tiredness started to creep in, particularly for year 11 and 13 students faced with Mock Examinations. The weather also turned a little cooler and unpredictable. Then came the week that I, as a senior leader, dread. Week 4, the penultimate week of term. This is the week that my email seems to fill up with the negative side of the job: everything seems to be an issue, from exam students receiving disappointing results to an increased amount of staff/students coming down with all sorts of ailments. As I sit here writing this, I am in the midst of Week 4 - and cannot wait for it to finish! Next week will see a decline in the angst that has marked this week, as we head into CNY and some downtime away from the everyday school life!

Given that this is the general pattern of any term, be it a short 5 week hop or a longer 8- or 9-week trawl, how do we look after each other and pay attention to the wellbeing of those in our community? Well one thing that is neccessary is to build in time for ourselves, forget about the pressures that we are under and do something that gives us pleasure: read a book, play a board game with a friend/family or go for a walk. It’s simple, but effective. The bonus comes when an unexpected, community focused initiative comes along that takes everyone along on a wave of happiness and breaks up the prevailing sense of tiredness that a penultimate school week can bring. So a BIG THANK YOU to the FISCA committee for organising the staff appreciation day which was marked by some of the tastiest cakes I have had the pleasure of consuming. It is often spontaneous small acts of kindness that are more effective in looking after the wellbeing of a community, and both those that give and receive feel good about what has happened.

So I invite you to think about what you do on a daily basis to show kindness to those you interact with. Saying a quick hello, holding the door for someone, or just smiling at anyone you meet are just some of the simple ways in which we can raise the spirits in other people. Have this conversation with your child(ren) at home, and encourage them to look outside their own needs and look after the wellbeing of everyone in the FIS community.

Mark Williams
Secondary Principal (International Stream)

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