Parents want two things for their children: good character, and a good job.
We don t see education as a success if it produces people with good character, but with no skills or ability to work. And the same goes for highly skilled effective workers, who are morally bankrupt. Both these types of people would, in the words of Sir William Blackstone, lead lives useless to others, and shameful to himself .
At John Colet we try to fulfill both requirements. The acquisition of marketable skills involves teaching literacy, numeracy, and other subjects; as well as focus, attention and the ability to apply oneself and to communicate effectively. These are teachable skills.
The good character side of the equation is a bit trickier. Imparting this requires teachers who, themselves, have those qualities and virtues which they want to impart: courage, fairness, compassion, honesty and so on. And the teachers also need to be nimble and vigilant to spot those teachable moments when an injustice or other challenge rears its head in the child’s life. They can then take the opportunity to teach them patience, forbearance, courage.
The role of the teacher is, obviously, very important and this is one of the reasons we celebrate teachers Day each year. This is a beautiful, whole school event where the children bring flowers for their teacher, and the teachers in turn honour the guiding teacher of the school, Shantananda Saraswati, in a special assembly. Some of the children then take the flowers to the Wesley Garden Retirement Home and distribute them to the residents.