Five Shows that Teach us About Running Schools


Not your usual suspects, but these shows teach lessons that school leaders should pay attention to.  I know I did (though maybe not well enough in the end).  In fact, some of these shows were my mentors when I was in charge of LA’s Promise.


Number One:  Boardwalk Empire


Lesson:  It’s business – It’s not personal


The best show on television, no question.  Scorsese, Buscemi, Atlantic City during Prohibition.  What a team, and what a story line.  The focal point is a very slick politician who understands that to keep his shit together he must juggle multiple agendas, deal with a variety of characters who each have their needs, their constituencies and their personal idiosyncrasies.  And to get the job done, he’s willing (himself) to pull a very hard trigger (as the season finale made shockingly clear.  Wow, what an episode).  The show is about power:  keeping it, exchanging it, losing it.  A clear understanding of power dynamics is at the heart of effective organizational operation.  And a savvy impersonal approach to it is how one survives it.


Number Two:  Kitchen Nightmares


Lesson:  Common sense matters most


The most relevant show on TV about running schools.  It’s true.  The BBC version is better than the FOX version.  But the the story is:  celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey takes on failing restaurants to (in a few days) turn them around.  More or less reality TV.  What’s so spot on about the show is its common sense take on getting things right.  It’s universal organizational wisdom he’s preaching.  The show is also a tiny little condensed version of a classic turnaround job.  Lessons are:



  • Simple matters.  Slim down your ingredients, your menus, your team.  Narrow your focus… do this in order to get a few things right rather than lots of things wrong.  (Just think of a Title 1 SPSA as the counter example.)
  • Quality matters.  The quality of what you produce is everything.  Where you buy your ingredients.  How you store them.  How you prepare them.  Details are critical.  So if you burned the scallops, don’t send them to the table!
  • Leadership matters.  Everyone should know what his/her job is.  Too many cooks in the kitchen screws up the food, but the real point is, too many cooks who don’t know that the @##$ they are doing screws up the food.

Number Three:  Moneyball


Lesson:  Metrics matter but not to everyone


The movie stars Brad Pitt.  A true story, more or less, and a new look at building a winning baseball team on a bargain budget.  Not about money.  Not about the tiny handful of star players.  But about relevant metrics.  Running a winning team on metrics.  Very parallel to school reform today.  Some young Yale economist who’s never played the game looks at a spreadsheet with a 100 indicators of what he thinks add up to successful baseball.  The methodology challenges all the preconceptions.  The villains are the old school scouts who refuse to adapt and instead play by the rules of an outdated game book.



Number Four:  The Office


Lesson:  Culture matters


You all know the show – one of the funniest to be sure.   About inept bosses, no accountability, and a job that doesn’t really matter to anyone.   So funny and so pathetic at once.  Like the mumbling guy with big glasses in the office basement of the movie Office Space, who’s obsessed with his missing stapler and the fact he’s always overlooked when it comes to servings of cake at office bday parties.  (An employee who has little purpose and function, who’s just ignored rather than managed.) People matter.  What they do matters.  Culture matters.  And vision, goals and purpose drive success.


Number Five:  Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution


Lesson:  Don’t offend powerful people unless you are more powerful than they are


or:  if you can’t win by going head to head, try coming at it from the side


I know it’s a bit narcissistic to put this show on my list when I’m in Season 2.  But the fact is, it’s one of the few (only?) primetime shows talking about critical and fundamental change within large systems, and this one is about large school systems no less. Public schools adapting to change.  A little bit of Kitchen Nightmares on a larger scale.  Season 2 is an accurate take on a child-focused agenda that got shut down by politicians and bureaucrats in LAUSD who didn’t understand what was going on, and didn’t bother to figure it out.  They will tell you it’s more complicated.  But it wasn’t.  What LAUSD’s leadership did on Season 2 was subterfuge, plan and simple.


I took them on and they ramrodded me.  It’s a reminder of how powerless most people are to big systems.  If you can’t beat them by going head on, try a few other angles.  A lesson I learned hard.

Which Side Are You On?


I’m not an apologist for “corporate-reformers,” but I find the anti-corporate reform rhetoric exhausting.  I’ve written about this plenty of times in this blog.  Name-calling and extreme posturing on the narrowest spectrum – no room for moderation:  profiteers on one side, with the ruin of public schooling the capitalist’s playground; and on the other, self-proclaimed social justice educators who carry digital copies of Pedagogy of the Oppressed in their Che Guevara encased iPads.


So choosing a side isn’t so easy is it?  


I’d love to support the Occupy movement, for example, but when they kicked out the farmers’ market in LA (who share the same space), the movement became hypocritical.


Another example:  I really enjoyed Diane Ravitch’s book.  I actually found some vindication in her tearing down the miracle schools of Chicago and New York.  I do my turnaround work in Los Angeles.  No miracles here.  The work is hard and thankless, and results are sluggish.  At the New School Venture Fund conferences, I would slump in my seat listening to a Philadelphia charter stud showing off how he closed the achievement gap in two years.  (I was a hater to be sure.)


But then I reached the end of Ravitch’s book, sitting amidst her deconstructed mess of torn down miracle schools, I thought, “where’s the answer?”  She didn’t have one.  It is what it is.  We are doing all we can.  Don’t believe the hype of those who say they can do better.  That was the message I got from Ravitch.  To be fair, she’s a historian, not a reformer.  But after you demolish the solution of others, you don’t propose an answer of your own? … that’s just not right.


Here’s how Diana Ravitch starts a recent blog in Education Week:



One of the central claims of the corporate-reform movement is that poverty is not destiny and that a school staffed with great teachers can eliminate poverty. This is a very appealing sort of rhetoric because we all harbor the hope that every single person can overcome the obstacles of poverty to achieve success in school and in life.


Is she saying that poverty is destiny?  A school staffed with great teachers isn’t an effective answer to poverty?  She says it’s “appealing rhetoric,” but implies it’s a pipe dream.  I was confused when I read this.


Which side am I suppose to choose?


I enjoy reading a particular blog site (it’s ACT’s site interACT).  I got involved in a debate with a fellow commentator on a particular blog post.  I wrote, “look, I don’t know exactly where I stand on a lot of this stuff.”   And she did something funny – she demanded I choose a side:



It’s time to own up… and [do] some “which side are you on?” soul-searching.


I don’t like the terms of this debate.  It’s about extremes.  One side or the other.  Either you are part of the rank and file with Ravitch as your prophet, or you are a profiteer of some sort beholden to greedy corporate America.  I understand to some extent the fear and suspicion of the rank and file.  I’ve been dissed by corporate America a few times (most regular people have).  But the rank and file isn’t exactly known for innovative solution finding (or any solution finding for that matter).


Ravitch brilliantly crushes so called miracle schools.  It’s not that easy to turn schools around, and she’s right on.  But in the end, she sounds a bit like ed reform’s version of a Calvinist… you are chosen or you are not when it comes to success.  What you do doesn’t seem to matter.  I’m not on her side.


I’d choose the side of the teachers, but for the most part, I don’t see independent thinking.  I see propagandizing and anti-corporate reformer hysteria.  Lots of it.


And what about the “corporate reformer”?  I’m compelled by the urgency of their side.  I’m liberated by their ability to break out of the confines of habit, rules, codes, legacy, and focus on what works.  But when Newt Gingrich stands alongside Al Sharpton at a rally in DC to talk about educational equity, I’m confused.


What about the students?  That’s the easy answer.  Of course I’m on the side of the students.  But so is everyone else if you believe the rhetoric.  So that doesn’t mean much… sadly.


At this point, I’ll say I’m on the side of what works.  Some things work, and some things don’t.  I’ll try to do what works.

Do Results Matter When Failure is Commonplace?


When I woke up this morning to this blog by Howard Blume, I felt my stomach ache:



“ L.A. Unified to reassert control over Manual Arts High,” he writes.


That was the morning’s headline… way too premature as Howard later realized.  It was based on District chatter and LaMotte’s wishful thinking leaked at some closed meeting somewhere – Manual Arts might be “taken away” from LA’s Promise.  It got me thinking of a that new TV series – Game of Thrones. 


Howard’s blog this evening is a bit more accurate based on a joint press release by LA’s Promise and LAUSD.  Though slightly toned down, Howard’s title is still inaccurate:



L.A. Unified to retake considerable control of Manual Arts High


Although this title doesn’t exactly reflect the content of the press release, I’m still left with the question: why would the District “retake” control, especially after the recent and undeniable success that LA’s Promise achieved?  Apparently, it’s because of what amounts to one month of operational challenges this year when the school moved from three tracks on a Concept 6 calendar, to a single track on a traditional calendar.  That, and a whole lot of anti-LA’s Promise chatter blowing up Deasy’s pager.


But the real answer is that LAUSD never wanted to give up control of Manual in the first place.  This whole PSC/iDesign business has been a tug-o-war between UTLA, Board Members, bureaucrats and “outside” reformers since the first day it launched.


I only resigned from LA’s Promise last month.  In fact, I was still celebrating the awesome academic gains we just got, good numbers that I thought would finally shut up all the negative chatter from the haters like Board Member LaMotte and her cronies.  I mean, the school actually achieved undeniable results in CAHSEE pass rates, attendance, API growth, and other metrics this last year.  But today’s articles by Howard signal a strange turn of events indeed:  even though LA’s Promise delivered substantially better results than the District and the other reform efforts, LaMotte and unnamed “District leaders” want to give the school back to the District.


I’m confused.  Isn’t the increase in scores what we are all hoping for?  Doesn’t that mean the reform is working?


Now I like Howard, but his journalism in this case isn’t accurate.  Not only that, it unnecessarily fuels the anti-reformers.  Just like in his last piece on this subject, today he downplays the results of the PSC reform:



[Manual Arts] has been managed by the locally based L.A.’s Promise, which has touted rises in test scores as evidence of the success of its work.


Of course we touted rises in test scores as evidence of success, but the fact that he doesn’t quote any of it, and calls it “touting”… well, I find that a bit disingenuous.  He also gets the facts wrong on the start date of our work, clocking it a full year earlier – LA’s Promise only started running the school in July 09, not 08.  (There is some confusion over this given the contract’s date, school board approval date, and when the school was actually “handed over” to LA’s Promise – not that important unless you are putting a timer on this reform).


It struck me in Howard’s article this morning how jubilant LaMotte seemed to be that the school might go back to LAUSD.  She was described as “praising” Supt. Deasy for “taking back” the school…  Taking back the school after it achieved record breaking API and CAHSEE gains with LA’s Promise?  Doesn’t her jubilance seem strange to you?


I just don’t know what to make of this.  To be totally fair, it is true that Manual Arts has had a month or so of substantial operational challenges as a result of transitioning to single track. I’ve heard a few disturbing stories – dirty classrooms, kids without desks, without books.  It was a rough start to this year.  LA’s Promise should have done a much better job preparing for single track conversion, and the District should have done a much better job of helping.  I was President of LA’s Promise during some of the early summer preparation time.  And the District gave us very little support.  It needs to share blame and help fix this, not come in as a swooping savior to “take back the school” it failed to adequately support for decades.


But the full story, one that Howard discusses in the evening’s article though he doesn’t fully connect the dots, is that at the end of last year, LA’s Promise successfully displaced some ineffective teachers and reorganized the instructional program to something more coherent – in other words, we shut down some SLC’s that were failing to deliver results and did a partial restructure.  It was aggressive, it was the right thing, and it burned bridges.  Of course, after all this -“this” being taking on seniority, taking on ineffective teaching, taking on the Concept 6 calendar, and (the one mistake) dropping the ball on some important operational matters – LA’s Promise became a target leading to an anti-LA’s Promise cacophony from teachers that even your most progressive (elected) board member can’t ignore.  ”It’s all politics,” someone at the District told me the other day.


But I’m still flabbergasted.  Has the District actually looked at the performance data from the other schools in Local District 7 and Board District 1?  Fremont and Jordan for example (and Fremont was actually restructured)?  or Crenshaw and Washington Prep?  And West Adams Prep, the ONLY LD7 school that’s actually delivering results (a 51 pt API gain this year and 113 over three years), happens to be operated by LA’s Promise! 


One month of operational missteps by LA’s Promise is all LaMotte and friends needed to attempt seizure of Manual Arts.  Deasy will likely do what’s right for Manual Arts and keep LA’s Promise behind the reigns with the District providing more support.


Lesson learned?  Results don’t seem to matter all that much, not when failure is so commonplace that we learn to judge success by factors other than student achievement (like political victories or territorial gains).  School reform is a Game of Thrones.


Oh, and one more lesson: you know that 5 – 10 mile grid on the LAUSD map where Board District 1 and Local District 7 intersect?  Well, that is by far the worst, most disappointing place for educating children in the entire city.  Attempt to penetrate that last hold-out of status-quo-failure only if you have powerful backers, mind-blowing resilience and a supportive family.


I was disappointed today.  But now that the day’s almost through, I’m a bit more heartened.  LAUSD and LA’s Promise issued a joint release tonight – I think Howard must have used it for his second article though he misquotes it some:  The press release says that it is a “Joint Statement of Additional Support for Manual Arts,” not a retaking of control (as Howard asserts).  It says:



Under this new arrangement, LAUSD will take the lead in the daily organizational, managerial, and educational operations of the school in partnership with L.A.’s Promise.  Immediately, the District will provide additional support to the school, help tackle organizational challenges, and strengthen oversight on compliance issues.


This looks good to me.  This is partnership.  LAUSD and LA’s Promise can turnaround Manual together and we should bury whatever axe we’ve had with each other.  This is not a struggle for territory with kids in the crossfire.


I wonder what LaMotte will say when we get Manual out of PI status.

Why it’s so hard for schools to work

Why it’s so hard for schools to work


Social problems are complex.  Really complex.  Though I won’t get into the debate about which came first, poverty or bad schools, I will say that it doesn’t make sense to talk about one without the other.


(But we still have to acknowledge how bad schools are.  Really, really bad.  Not assigning blame, just telling it like it is.)


In South LA (in particular, an 8.2 square mile zone around USC bordered by the 10 freeway to the North, Slauson to the South, and home to over 50,000 residents), the percent of students who graduate high school (not including the staggering number of students who fail to make it this far) who are, in fact, prepared for college is 1. 1%.


A failure rate this high dramatically impacts absolutely everything.


It’s not as if LA hasn’t tried again and again to solve this problem with a host of solutions. In a not-too-long-ago study of one particular LAUSD high school, my team and I inventoried nearly 50 organizations all working to help the school’s 2,500 students. Together these organizations provided almost 100 services. Many of the organizations had historically reported back wonderful success with regard to their student participants. So then, how is it that the success of the many individual programs didn’t add up to the success of the high school?


What we uncovered was a fixable problem. Though my remembrance of the stats is a bit hazy, it was basically something like this: nine organizations were catalogued as “college access” with the collective capacity to serve approximately 650 students, or 26% of the school’s population, through a variety of college-going activities. Yet, they served only 10%. Why?  Primarily because of redundancy and low student participation: i.e., the same students were participating in multiple programs, and some programs were unable to “fill their seats.” This issue was repeated again and again among the programs. So despite the capacity of all the organizations serving this school, only a small fraction of students were in fact being served. Combine redundancy and low student participation with a general lack of partner accountability, and you are left with a sadly inefficient use of critical resources.


Historically, we’ve been tackling the education problem with a plethora of isolated, disconnected solutions. Some solutions focus on teacher effectiveness, some deploy new technology to improve student proficiency, some zoom in on college-access, and some on overcoming the conditions of poverty (gang involvement, health problems, drop out). But in most cases, these different solutions don’t work together, even those that deal with the same topic, the same geography, or even the exact same students.


Schools are bad (usually) because we don’t seem to work together very well at improving them. For the most part in LA, we have a history of collaboration-forming and coalition-building. But these consortiums aren’t long lasting or focused on clear outcomes; or ironically, they replicate the same problem they attempt to overcome – isolation. For example, in the same South LA community referenced in my opening paragraph, there are (were) four or five different self-proclaimed “promise neighborhoods” working with the same students and schools but not working together.


If you know about “promise neighborhoods,” you know they are suppose to be models of “collective impact” – interconnected solutions across sectors working smartly together in a tightly scripted collaboration.  So you see the irony when a handful of different promise neighborhoods are serving the same geographic area in isolation from each other.


Education is a complex challenge. So the solution is complex too.  And comprehensive.  I’m inspired by the recent launch of a couple popular efforts:  LA2050 is a project of the Goldhirsh Foundation, smart, hip, with a really big audience; and Annenberg’s LA n Sync, driven by the goal to get LA on the same page so we can better compete for federal grants (Annenberg is the LA leader in collective impact).


Probably the coolest solution to challenged schools that I’ve come across recently is out of New York.  Turnaround for Children.  It gets the impact of poverty on schools.  And so redesigns schools and supports educators to better address the challenges.  

Early Childhood

Welcome
to the Early Childhood Section.
 

Please visit the website pages of each
of the
six classes in the section. They
will be displaying photographs of their work and play activities with
explanatory text to give you an insight into our day to day school life.
Our class teachers are augmented by four
able assistants and we have many central resources
available to
oursection
which are graphically depicted below
.

Sand and Water area – Our
purpose built sand and water play area has recently been opened
and is very popular among our students.

Early Childhood Library – It
is cunningly located under the stairs with an underwater
theme. New books have recently arrived for the library
courtesy of the parents who ordered this term from the Red House Book Club – 20%
free books were given to the school on the cost of this order – here are some of
the books
.

       

 Playhouse – This
is  a popular place with the section in which to find shade, play or have a
picnic.

Climbing Frame

Another recent
addition to our section – particularly popular with the younger pupils.

We also have extended classroom space –
this area opened last year and provides extra space for group and individual
work – as well as a place to play
,

The Bus – Our new Extension Class
1/2 has an innovative new classroom located in a modified
“Tata bus” – complete with air conditioning it is a fun place to learn.

Click here to view it in Class 1/2 page.

AN INTRODUCTION TO THE WORK OF THE EARLY
CHILDHOOD

Children in Early Childhood (3 – 7 years) have particular and unique
requirements. These needs, and the characteristics of this age group, determine
the provision of the Early Years curriculum. Play is essential to a child’s
intellectual, physical, social, aesthetic and emotional development and
therefore is valued as being a child’s work. Children bring a variety of
experiences and competencies to the school setting. We build on their existing
achievements by maintaining high expectations. We recognise that the parents are
the first educators and they are encouraged to continue to be involved in a
variety of ways. Children are active participants in their education.

The aims of the section are;
* to develop the school’s policy and practice at an appropriate level for the
understanding of children in the Early Childhood Section,
* to plan, resource and implement a clearly focussed, developmentally
appropriate Early Childhood curriculum which takes account of early skills and
concepts identified in the UK National Curriculum,
* to provide a well planned, child-centred learning environment where the child
feels safe and secure,
* to ensure that children are given opportunities to develop their learning
through play-based activities,
* to facilitate learning through appropriate quality adult interaction,
observations and individual assessment,
* to liaise closely with parents/carers, to welcome them in school and to
encourage a strong partnership between home and school,
* to encourage children to develop independence,
* to encourage children to explore and experiment, be creative, make choices and
decisions, and to experience success and pleasure in learning,
* to develop language and numeracy competence,
* to develop positive self images in children,
* to develop an awareness and respect for the culture and lifestyles of others,

* to develop a sense of belonging and community,
* to develop the ability to relate positively to an increasing number of adults
and peers.
* to develop a child’s ability to resource activities and use equipment and
supplies in a responsible manner. Our primary goal is to meet the educational
needs of all children, taking into account their social and cultural backgrounds
and different rates of development.

THE SCHOOL DAY

Supervision for the Early Childhood and Junior section commences at
07.40. For health and
safety reasons children in Early Childhood classes should not arrive at school
before 07.40. Information about the section timetables follows, as does
information concerning access to the school site by car, and restrictions
concerning collecting children at the end of the day.

07.40. Supervision of early arrivers commences.
08.00 Line up. Classes begin.
09.25 Break. (Supervised by a teacher)
09.40 Lessons resume 11.30 Lunch (Supervised by teachers)
12.00 Lessons resume
13.45 End of class
13.45 – 14.30 Late class for children with siblings in Juniors attending
activities, and for children with siblings in the secondary section who finish
school at 14.30.

Please note that children in Early Childhood and Junior sections
must be collected promptly at the end of the day. Parents will be telephoned at
14.45 if their child is still on site. The school reserves the right to
transport the child to the parent’s location by taxi at the expense of the
parent. These measures are in the interest of the health and safety of the
children.

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English

The world’s worst parents

 It all started when we were ten, Ralph and me. Our parents
had yelled beat and embarrassed us since birth and we were both sick of it.

 Together we had founded the “I hate parents club” which
included myself as Prime Minister, Ralph as President (he obviously deserved the
post as his mother tried to abandon him on the high way at Christmas) and Judie,
our dog, as citizen x.

Every Monday and Saturday afternoon I’d race to the tree
house behind the old graveyard were the grass were overgrown and together with
Ralph we’d plot schemes and write up plans how to survive parents.

This went for years until we finally realized that one
thing that made us  became the worst parents in the world that is that once we
grow we would be the parents ourselves which meant no more slaving around the
house ,no more crying ,no more begging .

This time we would have been in charge and no one could
stop us from gaining control …after all children are helpless at home .

Today Ralph and I work in a agreement with C.I.A. We were
married at eighteen and we’ve had two children, Max and Martin .They were the
first employers (slaves) of the C.L.E (children labour energy). The C.L.E is a
project which has first secretly founded by Hitler in the 1940, it was later
abandoned when he died ,but then we and the United States of America re-build
it’s inner structure and realized the dream of our greatest creation: “the Hell
house” .

Every morning orphans and regular children are recruited
from every part of the world, from every parent who believes in the idea that
children are only good at one thing: work.

Then by F.B.I they are all gathered, chained in pairs and
thrown into army trucks with

“Fresh meat” labelled on the, which a journey through the
slums to gather up the children who play on the streets, kidnap them and finally
bring them all to the place where all come in and none escape (The Hell House)

In the Hell house works former Nazi Leader Herr Rosch
Dicluzkov, our most eager employee.

When the trucks arrive, filled wit crying, screaming and
coughing little midgets, he’s the one who gives them their prisoner numbers and
sets them to work, beneath the grown to turn enormous turbines which generate
electrical energy to provide the whole of North America with 24 hours
electricity.

Surprised? Did you really believe it all comes from “the
burning of fossil fuels?” Like they taught all the innocent little brats at
those useless schools? Really all the fossil fuel in the world have almost been
exhausted ,the real power comes from the slaving sweating backs of all those
children  who work till they die ,after all every two seconds a baby is born in
Africa ,it is not like we’ll run out of employees if we don’t feed them.

Once perished the bodies are grinded and given to feed
cows. (ever wonder where the mad cow disease really comes from ) and the best
part is that all the world leaders are aware of this ,but no one dares to do a
thing.

Technically the worst parents in the world are Ralph and
myself, but sometimes when we are alone at night ,the starlight shinning down
upon my window and the cold wind blowing through my hair ,I can’t help ,buy
wonder what would the word have been like if my parents had treated me better
.The Twin Tower wouldn’t fallen by the terrorists who thought the headquarter of
the C.L.E was there, the kidnap rate in the Unites States wouldn’t be out of the
chart ,the thousand of men proved guilty of crimes they didn’t commit
(kidnapping) would still be free and yes sometimes I even wish it was all gone
and everything was like it should be.

Unfortunately it isn’t. Even if I wanted to I could never
escape from the C.L.E. The hell house will always remain the worst most fearful
memory inside.

The Jaunt                                             
by
Chirag

For
scores of consecutive years the city of Santa Fe was in decline. Vacancies were
becoming scarce and redundancy was at its pinnacle. The redundant were morphing
into thugs, villains and robbers resorting to many criminal and illegal actives.
The city was building its popularity amid the druggists and ‘criminals’ it was
transmuting its name to be known as ‘The crime side’. In response to tension and
tribulations, countless people had sold their property and migrated to greater
rewarding locations. Exodus was in motion. Property values had become flaccid
and were weltering with time.


Jim was a common mechanic; his blood-line ran into the heart of Santa Fe, he was
a rightful inhabitant. Conversely, life for him was getting harsh; he knew he
would not last long; his reserves were in a period of drought. He had to act
promptly, either to stay with the crisis or to leave the desolate city and its
dilemma of problems.

“Are you mad?” bellowed his father.

Is this guy a nut? How
the hell can he stay here? “I am serious, I am leaving Santa Fe and heading for
Los Angeles, I have been left redundant for three months by Chevron Texaco, I am
surviving on being a mechanic who gets no customers how am I supposed to pay my
expenses huh?” replied Jim.

“Well since you have
made up your mind! I might as well wish you good luck on your voyage” his father
shook his head with great disbelief and anguish.

Jim embraced his father and bid him
farewell as he embarked with his faithful comrade, a dog-called Murray on a
sidesplitting motor-bike. The motor-bike which was one of his own mechanical
inventions; he had been preparing it for three full months. The motor-bike even
had a leather boot which was used as a second seating. It was finely polished,
made from various hodgepodges, bits and pieces of footwear. The boot enclosed a
velvet swathe; it was a colossal shoe, which tied up with the motor.

Jim sped away to his destination Los
Angeles. The journey would take a day; he would have to pass through the
picturesque yet treacherous Grand Canyon and the Mojave Desert. His only
possessions were a few thousand dollars, a credit card, a few clothes and his
past memories.

The sun was dishing out scorching
light and the atmosphere was sucking up his sweat, yet Jim was undeterred. There
was not even a car in sight. Jim pulled over to the gas station, refuelled his
motorcycle and continued to his destination. His mind was constantly bombarded
with memories of his family and local habitat. 

His long journey continued until he
reached the immense blood-red Grand Canyon, which was cut by the shimmering
Colorado River into the high-plateau region of north-western Arizona. The Grand
Canyon seemed to be fabricated from the depths of the earth; it was a barren
land, scorching, uninhabited and desolate. The broad, intricately sculptured
chasm of the canyon contained between its outer walls a multitude of imposing
peaks, buttes, gorges, and ravines. The Colorado River was in its dark blue
colour, the red canyon and each stratum had a distinctive hue—buff and gray,
delicate green and pink, and, in its depths, brown, slate-grey, and violet.
Jim’s spirit was captivated by the sheer size of the barren land and the
stunning scenery. Even the view from the cliffs and ravines were refreshing,
exciting and yet tantalizing with the tremendous heights.

His regrets were washed away by the
enormous tides of emotions he felt, he now more then ever wanted to reach his
destination with his faithful companion Murray.

Jim arrived in the arid region of
south-eastern California and portions of Nevada, Arizona, and Utah, U.S in just
a few hours drive from the Grand Canyon. Jim had arrived at the magnificent
Mojave Desert. The Mojave had a typical mountain-and-basin topography with
sparse vegetation.

The intermittent Mojave River
shimmered like silver and flowed predominately underground to Soda Lake, it
moved and slithered carrying he boulders in its path. The Colorado River could
also be seen from the horizon like a slithering snake that was situated close to
the eastern edge of the mortifying desert. Cattle could also be seen exploiting
the few pieces of shrubs here and there.

Jim was exhausted, so he decided to
spend the night out in the intimidating yet astounding Mojave Desert. It was
getting late, Jim thought that he would reach Los Angeles today but reality
dislocated his schedule. Jim began by scavenging for pieces of dry copse and
wood with Murray.

The sun was setting and different
hues of dying light spread around the desert, creating a golden reflection. Jim
and Murray began to eat the roasted brute the audacious companion Murray had
killed.

The sky was nearly charcoal back,
there were a few speckles of light from stars were moving westwards and the
winds were relaxing. The temperature was steadily dropping. Jim knew he would
need the colossal boot he had incarcerated on the motor-cycle; it was going to
be his bed, with a little room for his dog.

“Boom, pop, scream”

Jim jolted upright.
Shivers ran down his spinal column. No way was he going outside, it was far too
dangerous.

A hairy hand grabbed,
Jim.

“What the heck!” yelled Jim;
surprised to find out it was broad daylight.

“Hey, what are you getting upset
about huh, haven’t seen a ‘real’ cowboy before?” asked a man with a cowboy hat.

“Sorry, I though it
was night time and …”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah you people always
get frightened,” said the cowboy styled man, with a bizarre twang as he shook
his head.

“Last night I hear a boom, pop and a
scream, do you know anything about that?” asked Jim.

“Sure do. It was me, I killed one of
those slithering rascals” replied the cowboy in his rigid clothing.

“There are snakes here? Wow, I did
not even know. Anyway I am heading for

Los Angeles,” Jim muttered in a frighten
tone.

“I wish you a safe journey, I best be
going now” and the cowboy valiantly hurdled on his stallion and rode away into
the horizon.

Jim jam-packed and crammed up
whatever he had into his boot and hit the road. After a few hours drive, he
could see the city of Los Angeles. His plight was ever so close to ending. 

Jim imagined the semitropical
metropolis of palm trees and swimming pools, television studios and aerospace
factories where he could get his job. He could see the city sprawling across a
broad coastal plain situated between the mountains, and on the west the glorious
Pacific Ocean. He could see the hallmark of Los Angles, an architecturally
dramatic network of freeways with the automobile dominating the life of its
inhabitants.

He hoped one day he could live in
Beverly Hills, Pasadena, or the Long Beach that were exclusively wealthy areas.
The city was grotesquely shaped, like a charred scrap of paper, with independent
municipalities such as Beverly Hills as well as unincorporated county land lying
within its boundaries.

There were many bazaars of specialty
shops, ethnic restaurants, banks, medical buildings, shopping malls, automobile
agencies, realtors’ offices and various other features, it was heaven for Jim.
Jim had arrived at the place he intended now all he had to accomplish was to
steer his own fate.

Grand mama’s Memoirs

Grand mama’s arms trembled slightly under the weight of the hefty scrap book.
She brought it down from its usual spot on the polished redwood bookshelf, and
clutched it to her chest.

Smacking her lips sluggishly, just to tease me, she hunched over slightly as
she always would, brushed her floral housedress slightly with a tired looking
hand, wiping away invisible dust, then shuffled across the floor of her one room
shack towards where I sat on her warm four poster bed.

In the dim glow of the fireplace she looked rather majestic. Her back to the
flames, profile shaded from the dancing light and the orange glow in the
backdrop. She stood before me and lowered herself to the carpeted floor and sat
cross-legged.

She placed the auburn rectangle on her lap and I peered over the edge of the
bed to look past her grey head and into the worn and yellowing pages as she
carefully turned them, exposing the black and white prints to the light so I may
see them…just barely.

She had been telling me about my great grand father for sometime now, since I
came to visit in early March and now it was autumn. She had only just decided to
show him to me.

As the page flicking slowed, my eyes fell upon black and white babies,
smiling faces, now-demolished-farmhouses, and then a peculiar photograph of a
moped-buggy bike sort of gizmo with a fair, lean man sitting upon it. Grand mama
stopped as well, this was probably him, her father. He looked rather stern and
rather cold, eyes set on the cut off space before him that only he could see.
His hands gripped the handles as if he really was speeding down a barren
highway. His hair was slicked back and he toted a camel jacket which was clean
looking unlike the bike itself whose wheels had started to rust at the spokes.

What was odd though, was the passenger cart attached to the motorbike. It was
almost as large as the bike itself. Shaped like a large, patent leather shoe,
with a rather small hound seated in its hold. There was a dark picket fence in
the back of the paved road and…

She slammed the book shut. It was a very sharp and hollow sound. It didn’t
really make me jump but caused an outbreak of goose bumps across my skin…or
that might have been the cold wind coming in through the cracks in the ageing
wooden door. She looked at me and I stared back. Her eyes were glistening with
tears now, more than they usually did. I gripped the soft, linen blanketing
under my fingers and let myself sink further into the bed. She had the
“you-look-so-much-like-him” expression on her face but said nothing.

She sniffed loudly and swept her arm across her face. Again she stood,
hunched over slightly, brushed her floral print housedress with her free hand
and then moved to the window opposite us, beside the bookshelf. She looked past
the dirty glass and its moldy panes, beyond the fading shrubbery of the field to
the barn which was always still and quiet. It looked grim and dark in the light
of the fast-setting sun. I was never allowed near the barn and grand mama kept
it under lock and key.

She turned slowly, blocking my view, gazed at me for a time then moved to
replace the book in its small slot in the shelf. She wasn’t smiling any more.
She stood at the doorway and sighed.

“The days were fun. Yes?” she whispered, more to herself than I, in her small
frog tone, hunched over slightly as she always would, brushed her floral print
housedress slightly, spoke again,

“Almost dinner. Shall we go? Shall we eat? Yes. Shall, Shall.” she snickered
to herself then turned again to smile an empty smile.

Something was wrong and there was no doubt that it had something to do with
my great granddad. And as I launched myself off of the duvet covers of grandma’s
bed I looked to the window and barn, framed by grand mama’s odd corduroy
curtains and noticed a something I had not seen before.

Six meters off the ground there was a window. My door way-or shall I say
window way- to what is being kept from me. But now it’s almost dinner and we
shall eat.

Mark my words though, as sure as tomorrow is another day I will find the
reason for grand mama’s tears. Looking up at the bookshelf I know that grand
mama does not grieve for those she has lost but the memories that have slipped
from her mind. And there is something else. But is it really something I want to
look into? Should I?

“Vera…roneekca! Shall we eee…eeat?” came her hoarse cry through the narrow
doorway. I quickened my pace, decided upon what had been troubling me and
breathed to myself an answer to all questions…

“Yes…we shall, we shall.”

14January2004

Jessica Morel year10

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Employment

JOB OPPORTUNITIES & INFORMATION

Periodically there are job opportunities at The International
School which are listed locally in the Seychelles Nation and internationally in the Times Educational Supplement and www.tesjobs.co.uk.
Expatriate positions would normally be listed in Dec/Jan

INFORMATION ON LIVING AND WORKING IN THE
SEYCHELLES

This document contains some basic guidelines to teachers interested in
employment at the International School Seychelles.
It supplements information to be found on the school web site at
www.internationalschool.sc 

Introduction

Seychelles is best known in Europe as an exclusive and expensive long-haul
holiday destination. It has a reputation for fine hotels, beautiful beaches and
an agreeable climate. All of this is true, but in common with most locations
Seychelles also has disadvantages for the prospective expatriate employee. The
purpose of this document is to provide accurate, honest and up-to-date
information to enable teachers considering applying for a position in Seychelles
to make an informed decision as to whether to proceed or not.

The ‘Down Side’

The disadvantages can be summarised as follows:

1. Limited availability of foreign exchange: Seychelles (although the
republic comprises more than 100 islands for the purpose of this document for
Seychelles read ‘Mahй’, the principal island, most heavily populated and the
location of The International School (ISS)). Since most items required by the
inhabitants need to be imported the Seychelles has had, for some time, foreign
exchange requirements that cannot be fully serviced by the inflows of ‘hard’
currency, mostly through tourism revenue. It is difficult for foreign workers to
repatriate money on a regular basis. Consequently, if you know that you are
going to need to convert a significant proportion of your salary (which is
payable in Seychelles Rupees) to GB Pounds or US Dollars, then Seychelles is
probably not the place for you.

2. Salary levels are not the best in the world and certainly can not rival,
say, Kuwait. However, you may feel that, having researched the options, that
Seychelles is a nicer place to live… A typical expatriate teacher with a degree
and QTS or PGCE, or holding a BEd, will, depending on experience, earn about 30%
less than the equivalent UK salary. This is paid tax-free, but is subject to 5%
social security. Health insurance is provided by the school. In addition we
provide good quality private-sector accommodation (no compounds…) and you have
the option to select your own property (we want you to be happy with your house
or flat). Currently some teachers live near, or in one case on the beach. Others
prefer accommodation in the hills and mountains that rise steeply from the
coastal areas in the north of the island. Teachers are responsible for their own
utility bills. (see below)

Outward and end of contract return flights are provided for the teacher
only, and a baggage allowance of 50kgs of personal effects is provided by the
school in addition to any ticket-linked allocation. A teacher’s professional
materials are shipped at the school’s expense. Contracts are initially for two
years and are renewable subject to performance. There is a gratuity payment for
each year of completed service paid at the end of the contract regardless of
whether the teacher renews contract. It is not carried forward. Most expatriates
stay for four years, with some remaining for considerably longer.

3. The cost of living in the Seychelles is generally higher than in the UK,
although there are exceptions to the rule. In particular the cost of cars is
very steep. A standard Toyota saloon car, 5 or 6 years old, or similar, will
cost in excess of SR90,000. A Mini Moke will cost about SR25,000. This is due to
the extremely high import duty charged on cars, and the fact that for some
years it has only been permissible to import new vehicles. The second-hand
market is ridiculously buoyant. Some teachers overcome the problem by borrowing
most of the purchase price and, at the end of contract repaying any loan balance
from the proceeds of the sale of the car. Incredibly the value of your car tends
to rise whilst you own it. Naturally this situation is subject to changes in the
same economic factors that led to it in the first place. Although there is a
good bus service in terms of coverage and price, the regularity of the service
leaves a lot to be desired and buses stop running at about 7.30pm. A car is,
therefore, highly desirable, not to say essential, particularly if you are to
make the most of the island.

4. Electricity costs are on a sliding scale, so if you use a lot then the
(monthly) bills can be expensive. Water is fairly cheap. Car and house contents
insurance are reasonable compared to the UK and a bargain if you’re used to
London prices. Be sure to bring evidence of no claims bonuses in order to
qualify for substantial discounts on premium. There are no service charges (such
as council tax or similar).

5. The cost of food varies. The importation and pricing of ‘essential’
commodities is controlled by SMB (the Seychelles Marketing Board). Since July
2003 a new tax, GST, has been levied on most items and services. This has led to
an increase in the cost of living of between 10 and 17 percent, compared `with
the previous year.

6. Certain items are readily available and are no more expensive than in the
UK, these include fresh fish, some meats, rice, bread, fruit juice, tea, soft
drinks, bottled water, fresh fruit and vegetables, milk and certain tinned goods
such as tomatoes. Other imported goods can be very expensive and are not always
readily available. Fresh meat is roughly as follows: chicken breast SR 55 per
kilo, pork is a little more. A (frozen) leg of lamb will retail at about SR 120.
Mince, cubed steak etc are about SR 65 per kilo. The quality is very good. For
obvious reasons fresh fish is plentiful and affordable. Alcohol is expensive.
Local beer (brewed by Guinness) includes a lager, Bavarian brew, and Guinness
itself, and costs about SR 12-14 per bottle. Wine is expensive, at least SR 75 a
bottle, but the quality (its mostly from SA, Australia and France) is excellent.
Spirits are very expensive. Expect to pay SR 250+ for a bottle of whiskey or gin.
Generally, bearing in mind that accommodation (normally the major budget item in
the UK) is provided, it is possible to live reasonably well on the salary paid and many teachers with property to let in the UK find that they can create income
which off-sets the forex problems described earlier.

7. Electrical goods, car parts, computer parts, mobile phones etc are
expensive items. They are also expensive to repair as parts are costly, however
labour costs are low here, so a trip to the mechanic will often see the bill for
parts greatly exceeding the labour charge – often the opposite is the case in
the UK. Petrol is SR 7.8 per litre.

8. Security. Whilst crime against the person is virtually unheard of (and
when it does take place it is invariably domestic) property crime is on the
increase. In some parts of the island house-breaking is common, with vacant
houses being particular targets. However Seychelles remains a very safe place to
live. We do have teachers who have been burgled when they have been out in the
evening, some more than once, particularly those living in properties without
close neighbours.
To put this in perspective such incidents are still uncommon, and much can be
done to prevent thieves getting away with your possessions. Many residents keep
a dog for security, others prefer physical security systems such as burglar
bars. During this calendar year I am aware of two burglaries in the homes of
teachers employed at the school. We employ 40 teachers.

The ‘Up’ Side

1. Travel-time out-weekends away etc. Mahй is a convenient location from
which to explore Asia, Africa and the Indian Ocean area. I am not aware of any
expatriate (or Seychellois for that matter) who has visited every island in the
Seychelles group. Most comfortably visited from Mahй are the islands of Praslin
(second largest in terms of population) and La Digue (third). Nearer islands such as Cerf and Round can
be visited for lunch (for example a boat trip to Round island inclusive of
excellent buffet lunch will cost about SR 220 per head). This is a whole day trip,
very popular on a Sunday. Like most excursions you benefit greatly by being a
resident (you have a national identity card which means that you a) pay in local
currency for things like inter-island ferries and flights, and b) pay a LOT less
than tourists. A return 15 min each way flight from Mahй to Praslin will cost about
SR 280, with a crossing to La Digue another SR 50 for the ferry. The following
destinations are easily reached for vacation from Mahй; Maldives, India, South
Africa, Kenya, Dubai, Singapore, Reunion, Mauritius and Madagascar.

2. Environment. Seychelles is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. Mahй
itself is stunning, with the beaches among the cleanest in the world (the
Seychelles government has strong environmental protection policies). There are
extremely low pollution levels.

3. Professional. The consensus view is that the children at the ISS are
generally delightful, and teachers enjoy the comparative lack of stress relating
to, say, discipline matters. Teachers are appreciated by students and their
families. The school is very friendly – a community school in all but name. We
are over-subscribed in all sections of the school. 65% of our students are
Seychellois, with the following countries well represented in the expatriate
cohort: GB, India, Sri
Lanka, America, South Africa and China. In all there are students from 25
countries attending the school. Despite the foreign exchange problems mentioned
earlier the school is well-resourced, with regularly up-dated text books, a good
computer network, electronic library, excellent hall lighting and sound systems
etc. Many classrooms and labs are fully air-conditioned. All teaching
accommodation is purpose built, most of it within the last 10 years. Our largest
building was completed in 2000. It is important that the school runs
efficiently, but we try to avoid a plethora of paperwork. In essence, if
documentation does not impact positively upon the students in some way then it
is unlikely to be used at the ISS. There is a professional development
programme, which can include overseas or distance learning for teachers, subject
to the availability of foreign currency. Further details about the professional
life of the school can be found on this web site.

4. Social life. On Mahй there are good restaurants, excellent hotels (open
to non-residents) night clubs/discos and casinos. You can find and use all the
usual tourist-related facilities – scuba, fishing, sailing, wind-surfing etc.
The expatriate community is, like the place, fairly laid-back. You can opt in or
opt out of a fairly active social agenda. Seychellois are very friendly and
welcoming people and most employees take the opportunity to enjoy both local and
expatriate friendship groups (in fact the two blend rather more than in many
other parts of the world.)

If, having read this document you have any specific questions which cannot be
answered by either the web site or general Seychelles web sites (see Google)
then please feel free to e-mail me on
[email protected] I
will be happy to answer your questions as rapidly and as honestly as I can.

Martin Kennedy
Head teacher

Jobs at The International School are advertised in this
section of the site, locally in the Seychelles Nation and internationally in the
Times Educational Supplement which maintains an employment web site.

All enquiries concerning employment at the school should be directed 
to Carole Chetty (Senior Administration Officer) at the
school office e-mail address : 
[email protected]
and not the school web site.

Thank you! 

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English Literature

“The
greatest lover in the play is not Orsino, nor even Viola, but Antonio. Do you
agree?”

           Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night is a comical
illustration and study of love, where the characters are entangled in several
love webs and are blind to their true emotions. Where Olivia is the centre of
love for Malvolio, Sir Andrew and Orsino, and Orsino is sought after by Viola
who (because she has been cross dressed) has stolen Olivia’s heart. Yet, the
confusion is probably caused by the deceit around them all.

           However, there are those who are truly in love
where Viola’s passion for Orsino would be a great example, where although she
pretends to be a man, she struggles to carryout his wills and hint her feelings
for him at the same time. Orsino, would be a case of amplified misconception
where he does more of what he sees is done than what he should and feels,
following a trait of all wooers with gifts and messages and proclamations of
love, none come from him, physically or spiritually and Olivia is fully aware of
it. Antonio is also a fine stature of love and though his intents may be queer
at instances during is conversation, and actions concerning his centre for
emotion, Sebastian, he is true and ever so honorable.

           Having read through and examined the aspects of
love in Twelfth Night, together with the many “love triangles” (and in some
cases “squares”), I would agree upon the statement above in saying that the
greatest lover would be not Orsino or Viola, but Antonio, but such to a certain
extent.

           Antonio has, time and time through the play
shown nothing but love for Sebastian and it is sometimes hard to tell if it is
love as a father figure or lover. He commences his pledge when he saves
Sebastian’s life during the ship wreck and protects him throughout.

Sebastian’s will to leave for Illyria compels Antonio to
follow.

          “Will you stay no longer? Nor will you not that I
go with you?” 

Though Sebastian refused, Antonio followed him

          “I could not stay behind you. My desire, more
sharp than filed steel” 

In Illyria, Antonio gave Sebastian money, and found him
lodging. He cares for Sebastian deeply and wants only the best for him. Upon his
coming to Illyria, he was jeopardizing himself because there was a bounty on his
head.

          “I do not without danger walk these streets.” 

And during a duel between Viola and Sir Andrew, he helps
her thinking that she is Sebastian.

          “Put up your sword! If this young man have done
offence, I take the fault on me: If you offend him, I for him defy you.” 

Again in this scene, he gets another opportunity to display
his passionate feelings for Sebastian when he is seized by guards and is
disappointed in Viola who is not Sebastian, “denying him”.

          “Is it possible that you deny me now? … Do not
tempt my misery.”         

          In the play, Antonio’s feelings of love (whatever
the sort) are true and this would make him the greatest lover. 

          Orsino could not even be considered as a better
love than Antonio, he is a more superficial type of love, where he “falls in
love” with Olivia at first sight,

          “O, when mine eyes did see Olivia first” 

tries to gain her favor by sending messages and
gifts to her. He simply expects Olivia to fall in love instantly , he probably
has no true feelings, is highly desperate and unrealistic as he is prepared to
wait seven years for Olivia to finish her grievance for her brother, or so he
claims. Where he sends out Cesario (the cross dressed Viola) out to woo Olivia,
he quickly learns the meaning being love from Violas (as Cesario) and through
this he comes to like the idea and is unhesitant about switching his love over
to her once Viola’s identity is revealed. 

          Viola, on the other hand, would be a stronger
candidate for the position of the greatest lover, where she gradually falls in
love with Orsino and teaches him what she knows as a woman, though this is done
discreetly as she is acting as Cesario, and that her teachings may help Olivia
gain his favor whilst she loses it. Even still, Orsino was also her companion,
her love was growing with time, and this is nothing but natural between opposing
sexes (even if, at the time Orsino was not quite aware).

           Viola, during one of many conversations reveals
her true feelings for Orsino.

          “Yet a barful strife! Whoe’er I woo, myself would
be his wife”

And this becomes a reality when her true identity is
revealed.

Though Antonio has strong feelings for Sebastian which are
not as “fatherly” at times as much as “loverly”, he would be the plays greatest
lover for it is he who displays his emotions best and proves them in each and
every possible way, at every opportunity.

  
Jessica Morel  yr10

 ******************************************************************


                       
Composed Upon
Westminster Bridge

 Sharon
Bonne
  

 This
spectacular poem written by William Wordsworth describes a completely new
perspective of London, now vanished, far from the putrid physical side. The poem
had a deeply subjectively sentimental look into a new light, the early light of
dawn.

Wordsworth portrays a rare and unique eulogy of
the cityscape and blends the city’s calmness with his own forcing the reader to
intensely empathize into the bond he creates, describing the city in its ‘bare’
feminine side, making complete use of metaphors, similes, alliteration and
mostly personification in this poem written in iambic pentameter.

 The poem begins in the first wrapping the
reader using praise through a negative comparison, in wonder of what could be
‘more fair:, Than anything else in the world, as he wrote

 “Earth has not anything to show more fair”

   that a person would be ‘dull’ if they didn’t
notice this effulgent beauty, this ‘fairness’ and for the first time stroking
the surface of a feminine side of the city, as fair was a comment given to
beautiful young ladies.

His reference to a city as a person, possibly a
female character leaves the reader to doubtful  if, even if he was composing a
‘love poem to a city’, wasn’t also referring to a certain fancy of his or heart
deep love, too deep for a conscious mind to notice. This evidence is shown in
line 3, where he describes the city as Majestic “–showing royalty and at some
level, if he did In fact love a woman, he would have preferably seen her
majestic, as he was born in a rather aristocratic family.

Then there is the other aspect of the actual
city being majestic, giving this clear word-picture of a huge cityscape with all
its radiant royalty coursing through the poet’s veins and the steep sun rays
cutting through the air   .

In Line four, he describes the city as wearing a
garment, which is his first simile he puts into the poem as well as the archaic
word “doth”. Obviously City’s never wear anything, but, like Wordsworth says,
the

 ‘Beauty of the morning; silent and bare:

Thus highlighting this state of peace and
calmness the city has, before the storm of the day. He once again compares the
city to a woman, ‘bare’ and pure a beautiful woman wearing all the colors and
feelings of the morning on herself ,  as if just awoken from a long and peaceful
sleep with the eternal night and feeling refreshed, cleared of filth and

‘Smokeless air”

and now has a

 ‘Bright and glittering’

Summer sky. The next lines, line six and line
eight, they are the only sentences which is just completely descriptive, a
silhouette of tall buildings and Ships, comparing them with the countryside with
fields and together forming a joined and contrasting skyline.

In lines 10-11 is the cut off point from
description which had begun in lines 7-11, and the focus is turned back to the
poets feelings inside himself, beginning at line 11. As the sun illuminates the
wonderful city landscape, it also passes on a peaceful sentiment onto the poet
turning vision into emotion, as he says, using personification and the archaic
word “Ne’er”

“Ne’er saw I, never felt calm so deep”

The poet gives this imagery of this calm sate,
but says “saw I” meaning he saw the calmness, thus personifying and
materializing this feeling into the city’s personality, as if it were a real
person he was referring to.

As the entire poem flows in iambic pentameter,
so does the river Thames ,as the poet used the archaic word “Glideth” through
London ,a it’s own sweet will, choosing it’s own course, self-determining into
the heart of the city. I think the poet here is drawing a subconscious parallel
between the self-determinate flow of river into the heart of the city to the
uncontrolled flow of love into his own heart, which that morning was like the
one of the city- mighty but calm that peaceful morning before the active
outburst of citizens which come roaring out of their houses and get to work like
pigeons scurrying about. William Wordsworth views all sugar-coated in his
subjective point of view that even the very houses seem asleep.

Finally I would like to conclude with the firm
idea that William Wordsworth did Infact write this marvellous poem to the city
,which he personifies in line four, giving it a capital letter as if it where a
person wearing a garment. Evidence like this and others throughout the poem have
lead me to the conclusion that subconsciously William was Infact referring to a
woman, or at least thinking of her throughout the poem and gives subtle hints of
his doing so all along. The immensely powerful imagery he gives and the
references he subconsciously makes about this woman as Fair and majestic means
he probably was a actually in love when writing that poem, or felt these love
struck emotions and was now projecting them upon the City with rose-tinted
spectacles, which would explain why he notice that beautiful morning and stopped
to write, as most people in love tend to be quite cheerful and positive. It’s
the same theory as you have to feel it to know.

Wordsworth manages to captivate the reader into
this poem which flows like the waters into empathizing with him ,feeling the
same feelings he felt in the spirit of the City’s gently beating heart-like a
woman’s own.

William Wordsworth created an intricate web
between the city building it up as if it were a body on it’s own along with him.
In this same way he links various phrases in the poem by making the end words
rhyme, for example

“Earth has nothing to show more fair”

This city now doth like a garment wear”

“The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,

“All bright and glittering in the smokeless air”

In his first splendour, valley rock or hill”

“The river glideth at its own sweet will”

And the rhyming continues between the end words
“deep, asleep, still and will”

The poet provides a rare eulogy of the city,
with feminine innuendoes. I believe as this poem was actually written to a woman
using the city as a metaphor, The poet manages to link the beauty of the morning
,which only just lasts a few minutes with the beauty of a woman which really is
just the same, lasts for a short while before old age and sometimes ,like the
poet has done, it is useless looking only at the negative perspective, but just
enjoy something you have whilst it l lasts, because you never know when it might
go away but then it will be too late.

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Geography

River Poems

RIVERS!!!

Flowing downstream

With its soft ripple, ripple

Its clear and fresh water with no steam

With its swift body- no traces of a cripple, no
cripple

From the mountains to the plains

To the suburban places, places

To its dangerous floods- resulting pains

Rivers have many different faces, many faces

Features in its childhood

Include a waterfall, fall

The water that crashes onto the rocks stood

And the large trees, green and tall, so tall

The river starts at its source

Breaking into tributaries, so thin, so thin

With its soft current or hard force

And the fishes in the river, with their colorful
fin, their fin

As the river travels, making flood plains

And meanders bending the course, course

The river encounters rocks, and energy for its
gain

With its tremendous force, tremendous force, its
force

When the river ends

At the mouth, near the sea, sea

It begins a new river, as it sends

Itself into the largest river that can be, can
be!

And as I sit on the hard boulder

Wondering to my self, self

Are there keys and locks?

To stop the currents travelling and becoming
colder, colder?

The rivers are like people

They need a course to go on, on

Their soft ripple is like a word, “Ripple”

And they have children, daughters and sons, sons

And I got up and looked for the last time

At the crystal clear water, clear-water

And the river was speaking like a soft mime

And telling me to come near, with no fear, to
the water crystal clear, clear!!

Naina Chhiber

*********************************

MY POEM ON RIVERS

KHUSAL

Rivers oh rivers

Running down a
mile like the Nile

Top from the
mountains

Down to the sea

Rivers oh rivers

Rivers oh rivers

A rapid river

Makes me shiver

Never waits for
anyone

Rivers oh rivers

Rivers oh rivers

Going through
wiggly curves

Known as
meanders

Eroding land

Causing
destruction to the land

Rivers oh rivers

Rivers oh rivers

Some longer like

The Nile

Some shorter
like

The Thames

Rivers oh
rivers.

***************************************


The Blue ribbon


 
Tears in
heaven’s eyes spilt

Upon the land. A
river had

Begun its journey,

Across unknown lands

Cutting through the
mud and clay

An eternal course was
made.

Through valleys,
fields and hillsides

A blue ribbon was
planned

The fraying ribbon
reached

The great water of
time,

And as the fresh
water

Mingled with the salt

Heaven began to cry

Siobhan Dooley

Our
Trip to the Seychelles Meteorological Station

On
Monday February the 23rd the, students of Year 8 were very privileged
to be allowed to visit the Weather Station. As part of our geography and
computer lessons, we were allowed to visit the Weather Station and learn about
the wonders of nature.

At 8
o’clock in the morning we assembled outside the school gates eagerly waiting for
the bus to come. After ten minutes it came and we began our trip to the Pointe
Larue MET Station of Mahe. The bus ride was comfortable yet long, as we were all
too excited to stay still. Finally we reached the Pointe Larue MET Station and
got off the bus.

When
we reached the gates of the Station, and no one was there to receive. After a
bit of waiting, running around and getting badges to get clearance, we entered
the gates.  At the entrance to the office, a lady working at the station
received us. She briefly explained what we would be seeing. After her
introduction we headed to the field where the weather instruments were lying.

This
was a large green patch with different instruments spread over the area. These
were the instruments we saw:

1)     

The first instrument we saw was the
Stevenson’s Screen. It contained 4
different thermometers measuring the temperature in different ways. We then saw
the Hyarograph (which was in the
Stevenson’s Screen), which records the amount of humidity and the amount of
moisture. There are charts inside which are automatically recorded by the
results.  We also looked at the thermometers
inside the soil
, measuring the temperature of the ground at different
depths

The next one showed the minimum temperature,
which records the lowest temperature for that day. This is observed and
taken in twice a day. It contained alcohol.

The wet bulb records the amount of
moisture in the atmosphere for the day.

The dry bulb thermometer is most
important as it records the actual temperature, which is used. This
temperature is recorded twice a day, to calculate active humidity
afterwards.

 

2)      The next instrument we learnt about was the
Sunshine Recorder that records the hours
of sunshine per 12 hours. In this instrument there is a slot in card. There are
3 slots one for each hemisphere; the southern hemisphere, then the equator or
the middle and the northern hemisphere. For different places on the Earth,
different cards must be used.  

3)      Our next instrument was the
Rain Gauge, which is the most useful one
in a tropical climate like Seychelles. This was an autographic rain gauge
meaning the rainfall amount was automatically recorded with a pen inside. Inside
the main outer box there was a chart with a clock. The rain is measured in mm as
it is soaked in by the soil, and therefore is more useful with the depth.

4)      The next instrument we saw was very rare, and one that
we had not learnt about. This was the evaporation
dish,
which helped the staff of the MET station find out the amount of
evaporation for the day. This was a very large dish, which had water in it. When
there is a lot of evaporation due to the sun’s rays and the dryness around the
dish, the water evaporates and when there is observation, the meteorologists can
see whether there has been an increase or decrease in the amount of water found
in the bowl.

5)       We then saw the wind
vane
that tells us in which direction the wind is traveling. Using the
compass points of north, south, east and west does this. We also learnt a little
bit about the wind anemometer, which
records the wind speed in knots and is recorded on a graph.

6)      Our guide told us about how
cloud cover is found out. This is done by
observation by noticing how many different types of cloud are (10 in all), and
how many oktas (eights) of the sky is covered in clouds.

7)      We learnt about two new instruments. These were the
pyranometer, which records the amount of
short radiation waves the sun is giving off.  The next one was the
Spectral Photometer, which tells us the
amount of gas in the air, helping us in protection of the ozone layer.

8)      The last instruments we learnt about were the
Aneroid barometer, which tells us the
amount of air pressure there is in a region. There is a digital as well as
analogue barometer. Inside the barometer there is a barograph.

 

Our second
stop was the Television Recording Studio. But for this we were separated into 2
groups. One group with Mrs. Morrel, and the other group with Mrs. Payet. This
was the best part of the trip as we learnt how the media and the weather work
together in predicting the weather in Seychelles.  As we entered the main room
we met a man called Mr. Amelie. He was going to spend time with us explaining
and showing us weather reports from the TV. He showed us a computer and
television connected together. He showed us how the weather is recorded into a
PowerPoint slide show. The information is then projected in into the TV. The
Weather man/woman then looks at a TV in front of them with the results on them.
They then say eth results out loud and tell us the weather. After this, he let
some of us have a chance. When our classmates did an imitation of the
weatherman, the rest of the class was laughing. We said goodbye to Mr. Amelie
for entertaining and yet teaching us a lot of information.

After this we had to go to our
last stop. The forecasting office. Over here we met a man, called Mr. Wills
Agricole who was an expert at forecasting the weather. He showed us different
charts explaining the weather systems around the Seychelles. He then also showed
us a very large and special computer, which is especially for recording,
altering and receiving forecasted weather.  He told us that every hour satellite
pictures around and in the Seychelles come in. these satellite pictures show
cloud cover, can predict cyclones and even thunder storms. It also tells us the
amount of rainfall expected in areas shown on the computer in different colors.
We saw and observed graphs that associate the time and amount of rainfall
helping people who need a forecast of rain more.  Surprisingly, during this
period the forecaster received a call from someone whom needed the weather
report. It was an excellent example!! We said goodbye and thank you and slowly
departed from the building.

It was now the end of the
visit. As we waited for the both the groups to assemble some of us began
munching, as we had missed our break time.  At ten fifteen we boarded the bus
heading back to school. We reached back at school at eleven o’clock and quickly
had a bite.

The trip had been very
educational yet fun, and showed us into the fascinating world of WEATHER!!! If
we ever have the chance to go again I am sure we will all jump to it. We saw
many interesting instruments and got a small fragment of the spotlight by being
on TV. . The trip was a great success.

WRITTEN BY NAINA CHHIBER
YEAR 8

School Association

(Last Amended 27 April 2000)

1. The Association shall be called the
International School Association.

2. The Association’s Registered
address and place of business shall be The International School in
Seychelles.

OBJECTS

3. The Objects of the Association are: To establish, promote and provide private
educational facilities of U.K. standard at schools, which

shall be known as “The International School”, and to participate in private
education at primary level and such other grades as may be authorised from time
to time by the Director of Education.

MEMBERSHIP

4. Membership of the Association shall be limited to parents (which title
hereafter includes recognised guardians) regardless of colour, race, creed or
nationality seeking enrolment of their children, or wards, in the Association’s
schools.

5. Application for admission as a Member shall be made in writing to the
Secretary and shall be accompanied by a registration fee as from time to time
laid down by the Board of Governors. Such registration fee shall be returnable
in the event of non-election.

6. Membership shall be conferred on one parent per family unit or on such
person, seeking membership of the Association, as is directly responsible for
the welfare and/or support of the child or children for whom enrolment is sought
in the Association’s schools.

7. Members shall be admitted only after election by the Board of Governors and
will be advised of their election. For the purpose of the Annual Subscription,
Membership shall be deemed to commence from the beginning of the year in which
the member is elected.

8. Every member shall pay an Annual Subscription of such amount as laid down by
the Board of Governors. Such Annual Subscription to be due and payable not later
than 1 September each year.

9. Any member failing to pay his Annual Subscription by the due date shall cease
to exercise his rights under this Constitution until such time as the
outstanding subscription is paid in full. If the Annual Subscription remains
unpaid for a period of three calendar months subsequent to the due date, the
membership of the defaulter shall be terminated and the member notified at his
last known address as entered in the records of the Association. The rule shall
in no way curtail the Member’s liability for any debts contracted by the
Association during the period in which he was deprived of his rights. (See rule
43).

10. All matters relating to the expulsion of members and termination of
membership shall be dealt with by the Board of Governors at their discretion. In
all cases the member concerned shall be notified and shall have the right of
appeal to the General Meeting, provided such appeal is lodged with the Secretary
of the Board of Governors within 30 days of the date of issue of the notice
advising termination of membership.

11. When a member withdraws a child or children from a school of the
Association, or when a child completes his/her education at such school and the
member no longer seeks entry into the school for a further child, membership
shall be terminated after a period of one month and the member notified at his
last known address in the Association’s records. (Exception, see rule 30). If
such person seeks re-election as a member, the normal procedure will apply.
However, if a new application is lodged within 30 days of the issuing date of
the notice terminating membership, neither registration fee nor annual
subscription for that year shall be payable on re-election.

12. A register of all members shall be maintained and made available upon
request to the Secretary.

13. A member may withdraw from the Association by giving one months notice in
writing to the Secretary of his intention to withdraw and to settle all
outstanding accounts with the Association.

14. Neither Registration Fee nor Annual Subscription shall in any circumstances
be refundable in part or in whole to a Member or his heirs.

15. Any member failing to comply with the rules of this Constitution shall on
the decision of the Board of Governors, be liable to immediate expulsion from
the Association and/or a fine not exceeding Rs500/-.

FINANCIAL YEAR

16. The Financial year shall be 1st September — 31st August.

GENERAL MEETING

17. The Supreme Authority of the Association shall be vested in the General
Meeting.

18. The Annual General Meeting shall be held not later than 30 November each
year.

19. At least 21 days’ written notice stating the date, time and place of meeting
and the business to be transacted shall be given to every member by hand, or at
his last known address as entered in the records of the Association.

20. A Special General Meeting shall be called under the provisions of Rule 19 at
the written request of the Chairman or of the Board of Governors to the
Secretary, or on receipt by the Secretary of a written request signed by not
less than 10% of the Members of the Association. Any such request must state the
objects of the meeting, and any resolutions to be put to the meeting. The
Secretary must issue the notice convening the meeting within fourteen days of
receiving such written request.

21. The presence of 20% of the paid-up members in person or by proxy shall be
necessary for the disposal of business by a General Meeting.

22. When a quorum is not present in person or by proxy, an Annual General
Meeting will stand adjourned until the same time and day one week later, at
which time the quorum will be 10% of the paid up membership. When insufficient
members are present to form a quorum at a Special General Meeting, it shall be
either adjourned or cancelled at the discretion of the Chairman of the Board of
Governors. The foregoing will not apply when business involves an amendment to
the Constitution (See rule 23).

23. Where a meeting is called to amend the Constitution, a quorum shall consist
of 50% plus one person of the total number of paid up members of the Association
present in person or by proxy (See rule 27). At such meeting it shall be lawful
for two-thirds of the number of members present to add to, alter or otherwise
amend the Constitution. Amendments passed at such a meeting shall be effective
only when approved by the Registrar of Associations signified under his hand in
the stipulated manner.

ORDER OF BUSINESS

24. The following business shall be transacted in the Annual General Meeting:

a. Election and removal of the Members of the Board of Governors including
appointments of Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer; written nominations are not
required.

b. Consideration of the Annual Statement of accounts, the Balance Sheet, the
auditor’s report, and the Treasurer’s report.

c. Consideration of adoption of the budget presented by the Board of Governors
for the ensuing year.

d. Amendment of this Constitution (See rule 23).

e. The appointment of auditors for the Association’s accounts.

f. Any other business shall be allowed as notified in the Agenda.

25. All business transacted at the Meetings shall be recorded by the Secretary
or, in his absence, by such other member as the Chairman may depute.

VOTING

26. Except where otherwise required by this Constitution decisions at a General
Meeting shall be by a simple majority of the members votes cast either by secret
ballot or by show of hands. The method of voting shall be decided by the
Chairman.

27. Proxy voting will be allowed at all general meetings whether special or
annual. Forms for nomination of proxies will be included with the Agenda and
should be returned to the Secretary 48 hours prior to the commencement of the
General Meeting.

28. Both parents of any child enrolled in a school of the Association shall have
the right to attend and to speak at any General Meeting but one member (See rule
6) shall have one vote and no more than one vote save that, in the event of an
equality of votes, the Chairman shall have the casting vote.

BOARD OF GOVERNORS

29. Management of the Association shall be vested in a Board of Governors which
shall consist of:

a. A Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and five other members all
of whom must be members of the
Association.

b. One member nominated by any financial institution or other body entering into
a lending agreement as a lender to the association. Such persons need not be
members of the Association and their appointment shall be for the term of the
loan and shall cease when the loan is repaid.

c. Not more than two other members who need not be members of the Association,
and who may be co opted by the elected members of the Board of Governors.

Any retiring member is eligible for re-election or re-appointment as the case
may be.

30. Irrespective of rule 11 a member of the Board of Governors shall remain in
office until the Annual General Meeting subsequent to his election unless he
resigns or his removal is called for by a General Meeting convened for that
purpose and at which a quorum is present.

31. Any fully paid-up member of the Association shall be eligible for election
to the Board of Governors save that no salary earning employee of the
Association shall be eligible for election.

32. Meetings of the Board of Governors shall be held as often as necessary at
times fixed by the Board of Governors and they shall determine their own
procedure.

33. The Principal — or other member of staff acting as or on behalf of the
Principal of the International School
— shall attend all meetings of the Board of Governors at the discretion of the
Chairman.

34. In the event of a vacancy occurring among the appointed officers during
their term of service as a result of removal, resignation or termination of
membership of the Association; the Board of Governors shall be entitled to elect
from amongst its members, a Chairman, Treasurer or Secretary as required.
However, the Board may still act notwithstanding such a vacancy occurring.

35. The Chairman shall preside at all meetings — where he is not present, the
Board of Governors shall elect another of its members to preside at that
meeting.

36. The Chairman of the Board of Governors shall also be Chairman of the General
Meeting.

37. At a meeting of the Board of Governors, every member of the Board of
Governors shall have one vote. The Chairman — or member acting in his place —
shall in the case of an equality of votes have a casting vote and all decisions
shall be by simple majority.

38. The Board of Governors shall exercise all the powers of the Association,
except those reserved for the General Meeting, subject to any regulations or
restrictions duly laid down by a General Meeting or in this Constitution. In
particular, it shall have the following powers and duties:-

a. To observe in all its transactions this Constitution and the Laws of
Seychelles.

b. To appoint, suspend, discipline, dismiss any Principal, teacher or any other
paid employee of the Association. All such employment to be subject to a written
contract the details of which shall be decided by the Board of Governors.

c. In the event of a vacancy occurring in its membership, or if the maximum
number of members is not duly elected by the Annual General Meeting, at its
discretion to co-opt additional members to bring the Board of Governors to the
maximum total and such co-opted members to hold office until the next Annual
General Meeting.

d. To ensure that a true and accurate record is kept of all moneys received and
paid out by the Association; of all moneys owed to or by the Association; of all
Assets and property of the Association and investments.

e. To open such accounts as may be required from time to time (See rule 40a)

f. To be responsible for the day to day running of the Association’s Schools,
making such rules as are necessary for the efficient administration of such
schools.

g. To place before the Annual General Meeting an audited statement of accounts
and Balance sheet for the preceding financial year, together with the
Treasurer’s report and a proposed budget for the ensuing year.

h. To enter into contracts on behalf of the Association. All such contracts
shall bear the signatures of at least two members of the Board of Governors who
shall be any two of Chairman, Secretary or Treasurer.

i. To generally manage the affairs of the Association

39. All business transacted by the Board of Governors shall be recorded by the
Secretary, or such member as may be deputed by the Chairman.

GENERAL

40. The Association shall have power:

a. To raise funds by fees, subscription, contracting loans, donations, gifts and
any other method agreed by the Board of Governors of the Association, or in
General Meeting, for the purpose of carrying out the objects of the Association.
To open accounts and make investments on behalf of the Association for the
furthering of those objects.

b. In its corporate name to acquire, hold, and dispose of property, movable or
immovable, to mortgage, lease or pledge such property and generally to do all
such acts and things as bodies corporate may do and perform.

c. To construct buildings and enter into contractual arrangements for the
construction of buildings as may be necessary.

d. To employ tutorial and administrative staff and such other persons as may
from time to time be necessary for the upkeep, maintenance and construction of
buildings, land or such other property as may be acquired for the purpose of
carrying out the objects.

e. To contract for equipment and work for the purpose of canying out the
objects.

41. All members shall be liable for school fees for each term or part of a term
for which their child is placed on the school register. Such fees shall be
payable in the manner and by the date notified from time to time by the Board of
Governors. Failure to pay the fees by the date specified may, at the decision of
the Board of Governors, preclude the child’s admission to the school.

42. A member or person having an interest in the funds of the Association may,
on application to the Secretary, inspect the books at all reasonable hours.
Except that the person shall not, unless he is an officer of the Association, or
is specially authorised by a resolution of the Association to do so, have the
right to inspect the individual account(s) of any other member without the
written consent of that member.

43. The rules drawn up under this Constitution and those rules made from time to
time by the Board of Governors (under the provisions of rule 38), or within a
General Meeting, shall bind the Association and every member thereof and any
person claiming through such member to the same extent as if such member or
person had subscribed his name thereto; Provided that no person shall be made
liable for debts contracted after he has ceased to be a member of the
Association.

44. For purposes of the Education Ordinance the Chairman of the Board of
Governors shall be deemed to be the “Manager” of the school.

45. Every member of the Association shall receive gratis a copy of this
Constitution at the time of joining the Association, and at any other time on
payment of a fee often rupees.