Governors Blog – Tavistock College School Sports Tour – April 2015
Well Easter has come and gone and I have been to Paris, more precisely Disneyland, even more precisely, the ‘Tavistock College School Sports Tour’. I am a Governor at the college, have been for a year or so now, and it is hard work, but hey guys, guess what? It is a breeze compared to being a teacher!!
Forty seven children, five staff and me. One big bus. We left at 06.30 for five days. A long time away for some children, coming from every background as they do, and for some a first trip abroad. Did they do well? It was amazing. Two netball teams and two football teams. Two cup competitions, 30 hours of Disneyland, over 800 meals, hundreds of miles of coach travel, four full team kits, first aid, water, bin bags, toothbrushes, sticking plasters were just some of the logistics. Now, I have organised a few tours in my time but… not with children who miss their parents, are unsure of the language, worry about the food, want to do well and play hard, and then have their own worries and concerns about life and growing up. I have one boy of 15 still at home, and if you are a parent reading this you know it can be tough at times, you have to work it out and worry about making mistakes… but I don’t have 47 kids for five days to worry about.
You know what I found most amazing? It was the relentlessness of the teaching staff. We have all heard the one about how we remember the teachers that made us feel good about ourselves, gave us confidence, and made things fun and interesting, well I was with five of them. They just worked from 6am to 2am, after the kids ‘lights out’ at 10:30pm they were still planning tomorrow, adjusting timings, phoning, organising, packing, sorting, you name it. I was knackered by supper time but no, they just carried on working. They were counsellors, medics, conflict resolvers, award givers, certificate writers, present and award buyers, budgeters, encouragers, listeners; constantly aware, constantly interacting, and they cared about every child. About all 47 of them, they really cared.….. they had no time away, no time to just sit and think. It was extraordinary; it set the tone of the trip. Forty seven children, all well behaved, polite, well mannered, interesting and interested. This was the tone of the trip, you would be proud of all of them. We got lots of comments about this. As the coach driver ‘Scotty’ said, “If my teachers had been like this, I would have had a much better time at school than I did.”
Then on top of all this, all the kids played loads of sport, loads of football matches against the Welsh (which we beat) and the French (which we didn’t) and the English, which were 50/50. We went to a coaching session with French national selectors, the boy’s teams won the referees award for Fair Play and as a rugby man this was the best thing we could have won. The netballing girls won a cup, lots of matches and had a training session with England Netball! All this happened between eating, sleeping, Disneyland and going round the Stade de France in fancy dress after the PSG game the night before, and sitting in the seats of players!!
As a Governor I can visit lessons, attend as many events as I can and generally ‘be around’ but until you spend time, like this, where there is nowhere to hide you don’t see all the skills our staff have and offer the children. Go on a trip guys, its great!!