13 February 2020
Dear Parents/ Guardians
“There are lies, bloody lies and statistics,” are more or less the words of Lord Acton. Essentially, you can use statistics to prove just about anything. Banks, apparently, train their tellers to spot counterfeit notes by studying the real note (the true and genuine) and not the forgeries. This is my point; there are statistics that are completely “counterfeit” and others that are the real deal. We need to be able to spot both.
182 of our senior pupils turned up to donate blood, 123 were allowed to (iron levels, body weight etc reduces the number.) “Mom, I saved a life today,” is a pretty impressive response to “how was your day?” That is a genuine, unambiguous statistic of value. (The matric first team rugby player, who was clearly terrified as the needle was pushed into his arm, for the first time ever, was my hero for that day; more so than if he were to score the winning try at this year’s Derby.)
Try this: 81 of our pupils turned up to run the 3000m championship at 7am; voluntarily, breathlessly and mostly uncomfortably. Another true blue statistic.
As important as it is to celebrate the obviously important “statistics of success,” there are others, normally unspoken, of at least equal value. “Not everything that can be measured, counts and not everything that counts, can be measured!” Einsteinian wisdom
The overwhelming majority of us will not be called up onto the “stages” of life to receive the glittering accolades. As long as teenagers measure themselves by that barometer they will live with regrets and low self esteem. They must not try to emulate the 94% academics’ achievement, but to rather be redetermined to reach their own potential.“If you are ‘not enough’ without the gold medal around your neck, you will never be with it.”
It was not my “successes,” that drew me into education as my life career path. It was my parents and other adults who made the effort to encourage me in my individual strengths and passions, that drew me to teaching.