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Roland Martin - Issue #6

'Joy to the World': finding meaning amid end of term mayhem...

Roland Martin

December 8 · Issue #6 · View online
Headmaster - City of London Freemen's school; Chief Officer - City of London - '...write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing' Benjamin Franklin

‘Joy to the World’: finding meaning amid end of term mayhem…

Deadlines = Doomsday
Just as I sometimes wonder what alien life - if there is such a thing out there - might make of life on planet earth, I also reflect on what those who are not in the teaching profession might think of the last three weeks of a winter term, were they able to see a school from the inside.  The last few weeks are always busy - often with a menu of plays, concerts and carol services potentially running alongside examinations and reports - and things can get a little frayed around the edges.  Report deadlines inevitably loom large and one can guarantee that ironically as the season of goodwill approaches, there is often little of it around.

Media = Madness
Increasingly, the media sends out very mixed messages regarding Christmas, as society seems to baulk at any suggestion that there might be a spiritual context worth exploring amid the eating and spending. Had you told me when I was a boy that by the time I was forty, the talking point of October would be what a certain high street store or supermarket would produce for its annual TV commercial, I would have struggled to find that credible.  
One particular store’s campaign this year had me particularly flummoxed. Young girl. Old man. Telescope. Potential safeguarding issue? My Chaplain gave me the low down: apparently it is a metaphor for reaching out to someone in need this Christmas. Would be good if that’s really what the retailer had in mind.  Perhaps next time, they could be more explicit about it? He also pointed me to this parody which puts a Christian message back at the heart of the season. Don’t click if your sensibilities might be offended…

John Lewis Christmas Advert 2015 - Remake - YouTube
Nativities = Nurturing
Those schools who feel able to engage with a traditional Christmas message through a nativity play bring much warmth and comfort to teachers, parents and grandparents, alongside first performances for the children. And there are always, of course, comedy moments. I was quite literally a fallen angel at the age of seven when a domino-style shunt from James Grierson led to my first fall from a stage - funnily enough, a feat I managed to repeat in a Chekov comedy, considerably later in life. This one was sent to me recently and I thought it might bring some cheer - not just to teachers trying to meet deadlines but I hope, to others, too.

Funny Nativity: Sing Like No One Is Listening! - YouTube
I’m off to write some reports now - which may take some time - so will rejoin you in January.  I hope that the season brings comfort and joy…
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