ATST Executive Director’s Newsletter May 2016

SAY “YES” SO THEY PROGRESS

I hope it is not too late to welcome you all back to a new term after a considerably longer holiday. As we face another long term, please allow me to share a few words to encourage and challenge us.

Some of us may be familiar with the film called “Yes Man”, in which Jim Carrey played a man who, with amusing yet at times disastrous consequences, was challenged to say “Yes” instead of his normal, predictable “No”. Many of us will be able to identify with him in that for much of the time it is so difficult for us in the teaching world to say “Yes” – there are so many demands on our time and talents, so many duties placed on us, so many responsibilities in the classroom, on the sports fields, in cultural, school, house, form, department areas. It is certainly not amusing for us.

Consider then, if you will (do say “Yes”), what some writers have said on this subject: “Today I will transform lives through the power of ‘yes’ and ‘believe’.” [Ken Poirot]; “Cynics always say no. Saying yes leads to knowledge. So for as long as you have the strength to, say yes.” [Stephen Colbert]; “Saying yes means getting up and acting on your belief that you can create meaning and purpose in whatever life hands you.” [Susan Jeffers]. If we only say “Yes” we can transform our schools.

People often refer to “Salad days”: Shakespeare did so first in his play ‘Antony and Cleopatra’ where we read “My salad days, / When I was green in judgment, cold in blood”. Generally it tends to refer to the period when one is young and inexperienced, filled with enthusiasm, idealism, innocence, or indiscretion. A more modern use refers it to being one’s heyday. Whatever meaning it has, when I think of salad, I think of lettuce – and when I think of lettuce, I think of “Let us” which is another way of saying “Yes!” So I wish to encourage us all to be people who like lettuce, who say “Let us”! Let’s do it!

So, to all of us in our ATS schools, even in these difficult, traumatic, stressful times, let us go the extra mile when necessary and possible. Let us show what we can achieve when we all work together. Let us encourage each other in all that we are doing. Let us praise our pupils more and more, affirming and commending them, saying “Yes” to what they are doing (with a clenched fist punching the air, if so desired, as modern sportsmen love to do). Let us reward pupils for their effort and attitude, not simply for their aptitude. Let us show we are proud of Zimbabwe. Let us find positives in all we face. Let us say “Yes”.

In a letter to our ATS parents, I am urging them to say “No” so this might appear contradictory for me to ask our ATS teachers to say “Yes” but I humbly hope that you can see the different points I am trying to make. We as teachers and members of the school staff need, perhaps more than anyone else, to be positive and affirmative people. We need to be people who convince our youngsters that “Yes, we can”. We need to say “Yes” – not “Yes but” or “Yes if” but yes! If we are to prepare our youngsters, currently in their “salad days” with all their enthusiasm, idealism, innocence, for a future of hope we must point not to Yes-terday but simply to Yes. “Say yes and you’ll figure it out afterwards.” [Tina Fey]

Do keep checking the ATS website, www.atschisz.co.zw , where there will be further articles posted and secondly do keep in mind the ATST AGM to be held on 16 June at the ATS office which we hope your school’s representative will be able to attend. Thank you for all you are doing in our ATS schools.

I wish you great joy, fulfilment and fruitfulness as you continue to say “Yes” in your teaching career.