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World Mag > WM Summer 2020 Resilient > Director's Message - Learning the hard way

Director's Message - Learning the hard way

You may know people in your life who talk about this pandemic as some sort of opportunity
for reinvention, a chance to reevaluate our habits and reset.
Peter Welch
Peter Welch

You may know people in your life who talk about this pandemic as some sort of opportunity for reinvention, a chance to reevaluate our habits and reset. There have certainly been some positives within our AISB community – colleagues have really pulled together, many of us have enjoyed more family time and I am daily impressed by the creativity of our teachers – and yet I find it hard to err on this sunny side. With the stresses and real suffering that this virus has caused, we – often the lucky ones – should count our blessings and take a sober account of what we are living through.

Like you, I suspect, I take part in a round of daily Zoom calls. Each week, I see my fellow directors in our sister CEESA schools. We all look wearied; we all share stories of trying to make the impossible and sometimes the absurd work at our schools. Here’s a comment from our last call: ‘80 per cent of my teachers are stranded outside the country and can’t get back in and we’re starting next Monday. What shall I do?’

Sometimes, we just have to laugh. And it is in that human reaction that I see the strength of the human spirit enduring. There is a line from an anti-hero in an Arthur Miller play that says that despite all the tough things he had lived through, every morning he gets up with a new feeling of hope. I remember that line quite often these days. By the end of my working days, there is usually  an accumulation of problems and fraught communications that I need to put down. I am just exhausted. Somehow, overnight, my reservoir of good will has filled back up and I tackle the next day.

There is a reason that if someone offers you a chocolate cookie at 9 am, you might say no thank you, I am on a diet. Offered the same cookie at 9 pm, then you find yourself saying, Ok, go on then… Social science demonstrates that our resources of self-control, patience and empathy are finite; they get depleted through each day. And yet, these resources continue to fill back up. We can be remarkably resilient creatures.

Through this crisis, I have felt so fortunate to work with outstanding colleagues who have showed such admirable resilience. This article  is for them. We know that habits of gratitude of sustaining in these times. So, I want to say that I am grateful to be part of an AISB community that is resilient, that is kind and united. This is the creative, compassionate and courageous school that we all believe in, that we said that we wanted to build together before this pandemic even started.

This crisis has at least given us this powerful perspective on what we value and what matters. This is the optimism I can believe in.



Peter Welch




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