Has it been difficult to slow down, to just be?

Maybe for some of us more than others. And yet here we are, just being with less doing. It’s spring and my small garden is teeming with life. A family of robins have moved in and I am learning about them, with them. They are busy feeding their newborn chicks. One has become very brave, sitting very near to me when I am outside and closer than the two metres of appropriate social distancing. I like his confidence (I’ve named him Robin Smith after one of my favourite cricketers from the 1980’s).

Robins only live about thirteen months, but there’s much packed in feeding his young, flying around and building nests. He is very good at attending to the moment, I keep trying to get a picture of him him sitting on the head of the Buddha statue. Robin is superb at flying and sometimes I get an aerobatic show from him where he zooms around like a spitfire in crazy delight.

My Robin (see how I have claimed him) has a freedom at present that I cannot enjoy. I do though thank my blessings and although I never dreamed of running St James virtually, I am impressed by my teachers who are flexing their creative muscles.

The new normal allows for some new ideas through the platforms we use, it allows for some collaborative opportunities - Dr Handa and I enjoyed our first Essential Texts session last Wednesday, we had ten boys joining in. We introduced the text, the Bhagavad Gita, and will continue this coming week. Do have a look at the Charlie Walker resources on firefly as he is superb. This is virtual action learning so do avail yourself of it.

I have also recruited some cracking new teachers for September who I will tell you about after half term. Joining us online, as Jacob Massey has done, isn’t easy but already he has impressed.

I am sending books out to boys who make a real effort through Amazon. I sent three last week. I will be asking them to write some book reviews to share their reading with us. I am also enjoying my online Philosophy Lessons for Year 7 and 9. Blended teaching works best, some talk, some discussion and some short videos. The boys have been brilliant and it’s lovely how one picks up their characters from this voices. I am also having meetings with parents on Teams which works really well despite cats, husbands and the odd dog wandering in.

The important message comes back again-and-again - that community matters. We are keeping a track on the opportunities this is affording us, what are we learning from this experience and how can our pedagogy be developed? Human beings are so adaptable and we are already adapting. Perhaps we will become more fluid, less static and more responsive?

As I always say to the boys - to people like us everything is of interest!