Every school has their traditions: dates in the calendar which make each institution special. At my current school, Christmas is a time when the sixth form traditionally take over, and the staff watch on with bated breath.
The first tradition is the Sixth Form Christmas Debate. All the students dress smartly for the occasion and teams compete to carry two motions. This year, they took on “this house believes that in order to fight terrorism the government should pass a law that compels social media sites to monitor conversations”, and “this house believes that superheroes such as Batman and Superman are misleading idols.”
Secondly we have the Sixth Form Revue on the final afternoon. This is a show penned by the students combining sketches, musical items, videos and dance, with the express intention of…well, ridiculing the staff and the school. The rest of the students pile into the hall in full festive cheer (the last day is always Christmas Jumper day), the lights go down, and the staff look on with a mixture of excitement and fear. Who will the students impersonate? What character trait will they pick up on? There are definite mixed feelings when you see a sixth former emerge with a sign round his neck bearing your name. On the one hand, panic. On the other hand, it’s a kind of compliment. As Oscar Wilde said, “there is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about”.
This year, given our relaunch, Growth Mindset was squarely in the crosshairs. It is, I think, a fair comment on how visible our new ethos is, that they covered cars and offices in Growth Mindset post-its…
My part in the proceedings included performing a “Growth Mindset Rap” alongside the Head of Geography, written and supported by Year 13 music students. Set to Justin Timberlake’s SexyBack. Sample lyric:
Don’t give up (Get your mindset on)
Give it a go (and you will not go wrong)
The children show (get your mindset on)
A marked improvement (and your brain will be strong)
In what they know (all your worries will be gone)
And it’s all because (get your mindset on)
the mindset of growth (get your mindset on)
I’ll leave the rest to your imagination. If I’m honest, it’s probably best that way.
Of course, the irony is that the kind of hard work, effort and dedication taken to put on a show like this would make Dweck grin from ear to ear!
The reaction of the younger students in the audience during this thorough lampooning of the staff is really interesting. Many of them look round at the teacher to check it’s okay to laugh. And it is; it really is. Because the satire is a sign of the strength of relationships within the school, that it’s okay to laugh at ourselves and at one another. The warmth that this generates is what binds school communities together and creates the memories that we keep forever.
Happy Christmas everyone!