As the headteacher at RAMJS, the pressure is always on at the end of the year to offer some profound words of wisdom to our young people, advice that may carry them forward with a feeling of empowerment. Words that will challenge and inspire our future teachers, Drs, politicians, builders, engineers, electricians, nail technicians and a whole multitude of professions (some of which may not yet have been invented) to follow the trajectory we aspire for them to have and live a truly wonderful life!
Now don’t ask me why but this extract from Lewis Carrols, The Walrus and the Carpenter has been inexplicably running through my head all week:
“The time has come”, the Walrus said, “To talk of many things: Of shoes – and ships – and sealing wax – Of cabbages – and kings- And why the sea is boiling hot – And whether pigs have wings.”
Perhaps, in a strange way, it sums up that whilst my words may seem nonsensical to you now, they may just go on to inspire something spectacular. Could I one day feature in a book you write about the mad headteacher who broke her leg and whizzed around school on a pink scooter with a matching cast? Will you become a shark crazed marine biologist because I shared my obsession with sharks? Might you become a headteacher yourself, determined to make a difference to the most wonderful people you will ever meet?
The possibilities are endless, and it may simply be that in writing some words that have come from my heart, I remind you of how important you are, how loved you are and how brave you can be!
When Lewis Carroll wrote Through the Looking Glass and included this poem, could he ever have imagined that it would be included in a Walt Disney film, Alice in Wonderland or that it would inspire John Lennon to write ‘I am the Walrus’?
Words convey a thousand meanings and having read the first few chapters of Julia and the Shark by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, (lent to me by Mrs France), words are described as being the most powerful thing, by far more powerful than numbers because numbers can be made into words but words can not be turned into numbers! There is also space in words. They change according to whose mouth they are coming from, and in my opinion, nothing could be truer because whilst actions often speak louder than words, words empower the action and give it momentum. In short, I am hoping that my rambling words will do just that… strike you into action like a match being struck into flame!
So what wisdom am I trying to impart? Where do I even start? I think most importantly I want you to remember that even though you may not feel it, you are spectacular. You are also entirely unique, there is and only will ever be ONE you. And some days, you will make mistakes, wish you had done things differently and wish you were just like someone else because they are so wonderful, and they always do everything right. Ironically, I can guarantee that someone else will be looking at you, wishing the exact same thing. So, the first thing I want you to do, is love yourself. You and you have a long journey ahead and getting to know yourself is the surest way to make sure you follow your gut (it is always right) and work on being who you want to be. Find out what you like, what your heart tells you and what your morals and values are. Use these to guide you; if you’re not sure think about how we used our school values to help us work as a family.
Secondly, I want you to remember that making mistakes is about how we learn. If we never fallen, how would we learn to get back up? Making mistakes is what it is to be human. You learnt to walk by standing and falling, crawling and standing, falling and getting back up. You couldn’t just walk one day so life is very much like being a baby; with each day you gain wisdom and knowledge. This helps you make sense of the world. Some days you may have eaten a worm or some dirt (a mistake) but one you learnt from; that didn’t then stop you trying new foods and discovering that you like cheese or ice cream, pickles or chocolate now did it- Mistakes are part of life, learning from them is what counts!
And finally, I want you to promise me that no matter what, you will not quit. You will find a way to keep climbing that mountain because the best views come after the hardest climbs. You will face challenges, but you will overcome them because as you have shown us this year, you were the Year group that smashed your SATs despite missing 2 years of school! You were the children who got on with it and showed the world what you could do, and I know that at times you felt like giving up, but you didn’t! You dug deep and you gave it your best!
I am going to finish on this poem because it often inspires me to keep going and if this is the only thing you take away from your time with us at RAMJS, I hope it gives you a steely determination to never give up on yourself because, believe me, the best is yet to come!
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low but the debts are high,
And you want to smile but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is strange with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many failures turn about
When we might have won had we stuck it out.
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow –
You may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out –
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
You can never tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit –
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.
To the Class of 2022, you have been amazing, now go forth and make us proud xx
Mr Nickson and all at RAMJS