ATST Executive Director’s Newsletter January 2016

RE. NOT THE CRITIC BUT THE CREDIT

Welcome back to a new term and a new year – and a warm welcome to teachers who are new to ATS. ATS has a very proud and significant history and so we have much to maintain and honour in all that we do in our respective schools. If you have not already done so, do check the ATS website (regularly), www.atschhisz.co.zw , where there will be articles posted each term for teachers (under ‘ATST ‘ tag) and parents (under ‘Parents’ tag – there are a number there already) as well as notices of what professional development courses ATS is offering (under ‘Events – Conferences’ tag).

You may also be new to the ATST (Association of Trust Schools Teachers) – you can find out more of their role on the website but I simply highlight here that one of them is “To promote the advancement of Independent education in Zimbabwe” – we are all in this together, to build the bigger picture. To that end, each ATS school is encouraged to have their ATST representative whose role is not least to bring to ATS suggestions for professional development. Above all, ATST seeks “to advance the standard of the teaching profession.” We seek your support to help colleagues advance our standards.

As an encouragement to you at the start of the year, I draw your attention to words with which many will be familiar, from the former US President Theodore Roosevelt. They are particularly apt for teachers as teachers are very much on the front-line, are at the forefront of the battle for the minds and hearts of the children of this country. As such they are regularly criticised (often ignorantly, sometimes unfairly, rarely constructively) by parents, by pupils, by businessmen – take heart!

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those who neither know victory nor defeat.”

We might just add: Or “those cold and timid souls who do not know what it is to teach”. What you are doing counts – it counts greatly. It is a worthy cause. So let us keep aiming higher and higher, serve longer and longer, strive deeper and deeper, dare greater and greater.

I wish you great joy, fulfilment and fruitfulness in your teaching career.