It's not just women that can multitask... | Portsmouth High School

It’s not just women that can multitask…

I laughed this week at the parody video clip of a woman responding to the same situation that the BBC expert on Korea found himself in when interrupted by his two children during a live newscast.

The woman in the clip manages to not only speak about a serious world situation but also iron some shirts, defuse a bomb and cook a roast dinner whilst broadcasting. It is a well-known joke that women can multitask but I would agree with Kevin Stannard, GDST Director of Innovation and Learning writing in the Times Educational Supplement when he says that teachers (regardless of gender) also have to multitask. Erica McWilliam describes the teacher’s roles as “sage on the stage”, “guide on the side” and “meddler in the middle”. And teachers’ work does not end in the classroom as they in their other roles as form teacher and head of year, for example, counsel and cajole pupils and students whilst also rushing off to run a co-curricular club. As Dr Stannard points out “teachers occupy a unique place in the pantheon of professions. If this were not so, we would be reading articles about “My favourite lawyer”; “the accountant that influenced me most”.

I received this week an email from an alumna, who left PHS in the early 1960s, replying to a recent letter I had sent to all

of our alumnae. She told me that she was discouraged by the staff from applying to study at university as shewas deemed not clever enough and yet she went on to have a successful career obtaining a PhD in medical research. She did add that she had fourteen happy years at school but she clearly still felt bitter about the way in which the staff, and in particular the headmistress, did not recognise her academic potential.

Thankfully times have changed and our staff are adept at spotting talent and potential in a whole range of arenas. It is another string to their multitasking bow. They inspire and encourage and within one lesson can be the “sage, meddler and guide” as they seek different ways in which to motivate and enthuse their pupils. Not all teachers will quite fit individual styles of learning but all the staff here at PHS are committed to providing a broad and balanced curriculum and many co-curricular opportunities and I know they are rewarded by being respected and revered by all the girls throughout the school.

I wish you and your families a Happy Easter holiday.

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