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I know it’s been a while…

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You may not even have noticed that I didn’t write a post last week.

I told myself that it was because I was in a workshop with teachers from across the Fobisea network all day Friday and Saturday, but really it was because I didn’t know what to write.

What do you write the day after people decide to wage terror in the city you’ve lived in long enough to call home?

Nothing seemed appropriate. I could write about Extended Essays or organisational skills or TOK or meeting deadlines, but really when you’ve spent the previous day trying to get the 770 BSJ secondary students safely to their parents it’s difficult to write about any of those things. My own children were in lock down at the French Lycee closer to the city centre, not contactable, and so I knew how our BSJ parents felt about just wanting to have their children with them in that moment, and how important our role as teachers was in ensuring the safety of our students.

So Friday wasn’t a day for blogging.

A week on though, I’ve found my typing fingers, and I do want to address the events of last Thursday.

Firstly to say that our IB students coped amazingly well with the situation. Everyone’s first instinct was to check that those we love were safe, and our students calmly contacted parents. I was in class with my Year 13 English students and in true IB Language and Literature style we essentially took to questioning the validity of news reports on social media as we watched the news roll on several laptops. Year 12 are in the middle of a communication unit, and I suppose this serves as an example of why effective communication is so important – on so many levels…

  • Social media causes sensation and hype but is often inaccurate and leads to unnecessary panic.
  • We are lucky that today we can contact loved ones so easily and check on their safety – a luxury people did not have during past conflicts, when they would wait weeks, months for a telegram to tell them of the fate of their sons and brothers.
  • In an anxious situation being able to communicate with empathy and calmly can calm others.
  • When emotions are high, being able to communicate can act as a source of reflection.

This last point comes from the fact that a number of our Year 12s have since written thoughtful blog posts about the events in the centre of Jakarta. Yu writes about how an event like this gives you a new appreciation of your family and friends and life itself. Owen wrote thoughtfully about his own response, and beautifully about his admiration for his father. Rahmani focused our attention, not on the terrorists, but those who look after us. Nicole reminded us of the importance of communicating with loved ones and Disha talked about the importance of being a united community in the face of terror. Jasmine wrote a powerful post which reminded us of the nature of humanity and the line ‘We are precious, but we are also dangerous.’ has stuck with me since I first read it. What strikes me about these posts is their sensitivity, and it makes me proud of our students that they are able to reflect, contemplate and put into words their feelings. I’m pleased that the blogs provided an outlet for this.

The IB Mission Statement boils down to education for a better world, and at the beginning of this year when introducing what it means to be an IB student I said to Year 12 students that I didn’t think IB graduates were responsible for the atrocities perpetrated around the world.

I stand by that statement. I don’t think those firing guns and exploding bombs in central Jakarta last Thursday were IB graduates. I’m pretty sure they never took part in CAS projects which asked them to question the social inequality they witnessed, or studied TOK and thought critically about how we can know. If they had have done, perhaps they wouldn’t have been led blindly by ideology and propaganda into destruction, but rather, like our students, would have been thinking of ways to address injustice peacefully.

And so to the other type of post this week: The CAS audit. Students were asked to review their proBlog post of the weekjects with a view to what they have achieved and what they hope to achieve along with how. Kenneth provides an excellent example to all of Year 12 of how to write a great CAS reflection and takes Post of the Week this week.

Blogger of the Week has to go to Jasmine, who becomes the first student to win the accolade twice! With her beautifully written reflection on last Thursday, an excellent CAS reflection on Cyber Shanty and her description of producing an Open Evening video with Josh and Tiffany for me Jasmine has been an amazing blogger this week. It isn’t only quantity though, Jasmine’s blog posts are so well written that they leave you thinking about them long after you’ve stopped reading. If you aren’t following her, you should be.

 

And, if you havenbloggerofthe weekbadge‘t seen said Open Evening video, watch it on Jasmine’s blog… you’ll be impressed!

 

Author: Ann Lautrette

Head of Sixth Form and IB Coordinator at BSJ.

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