We all thrive on inspiration. Our pupils want to be inspired by their teachers, although all of us realise that won’t happen 100% of the time! And teachers in turn need to seek their own inspiration in the subjects they love in order to inspire their ‘disciples’ (the Latin ‘discipulus’ meaning ‘learner’). The classroom is the forum for a dynamic relationship, where the mutual inspiration that comes from successful debate and discussion enriches the experience. We are delighted as teachers when our pupils ask us questions which really make us think hard, and we want them to be curious about their learning, pushing the bounds of their knowledge and applying that knowledge to novel situations. It’s also a great privilege to see our pupils in the Sixth Form sometimes surpassing us in aspects of their discovery. And, with Thomas Edison, we know that “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration”!

I have been interviewing this week for academic scholarships, and I have been mightily inspired by the responses of our inquisitive pupils and by their desire to solve some of our world’s problems. One of the questions we asked was about inspiring role-models, and you will be pleased to know that most chose a parent or grandparent! They spoke about the qualities of hard work, support and advice, and about their parents’ or grandparents’ determination to overcome more difficult or disadvantaged circumstances in order to make the most of their talents and opportunities, and thus be able to provide an excellent education for their children. This reminded me of one of my first assemblies at LGS, when I spoke about the importance of believing in others and of finding our inspiration in them: for me, there were some well-known figures, but I also talked about my mother, always kind and caring, and never failing to see the best in people.

One question I was asked during the interviews was why I didn’t forward my weekly message to pupils too. Well, I leave that for you to decide, as and when you think it might support inspiring discussion at the dinner table!

Best wishes, especially to all our families about to embark on the holy month of Ramadan,

John Watson