It’s good to talk and listen

As we move into  the depths of this Autumn I am absolutely determined not to talk about the general election and/or politics. In particular, I’m not going to discuss how politicians should or do behave – on the campaign trail or in office. If I state that I might just have half a chance of sticking to my pledge. I know many of you will be concerned, reflective or optimistic about what the election result might bring but for me I intend to (publically) stay well out of that territory. That’s the right thing to do, for a whole host of reasons.

It’s that time of the year when we reflect upon the phrase ‘it’s good to talk’. At school we’ve just had, this last week, a highly successful tutor review day. And we’ve got the year 7 to 10 Parents Evening to look forward to next Wednesday. When I think about those two events I am reminded of the importance of communicating face to face with parents and carers.

Here at Oakwood High School there are a whole host of children (the overwhelming majority) who really do make the most of the experience which we offer. They are thoughtful, motivated, supportive and delightful children in classrooms and around the school. We must not forget that the parents of these children have the right and should experience the delight of talking to teachers about their child’s performance and progress. As a parent I know how important it is to have the opportunity for us all to have our child’s work, performance and general good behaviour recognised in the context of their primary daily experience; i.e. at school.

There is also something about talking to each other. As we enter the dark winter months we are regularly reminded of the value of talking to our friends and colleagues about what we are experiencing and how are feeling. We all will find our own way of sharing or not, as the case may be – we are all different, of course!. But do not hesitate to take time to talk to your family, friends and colleagues about work, home or play – if necessary.

Equally, it may well be good to talk but it’s also good to listen. Listening to family, friends and colleagues talking about how they feel can have a very positive impact upon those that get that opportunity, in fact have the privilege, to listen to other people.

‘To listen well is as powerful a means of communication and influence as to talk well.’ John Marshall

So there you go. It’s good to talk and it’s good to listen. And no message about politics or politicians. Or maybe there is (just) a message in this for our politicians? Don’t get me going!