From the Headmaster's Desk
In 1902, a long serving teacher at Eton, Arthur Christopher Benson, wrote an extraordinary book titled The Schoolmaster. It contains his reflections on twenty years or more of service as a teacher and includes practical advice and reflections. Some of his ideas and assumptions are now long out of date, but there is also much in the way of enduring wisdom and wise counsel for those who teach. He observes, however, at the beginning of his book, that in many circles, the profession of teaching is ‘regarded as a form of social disability’ which does not ‘lead to’ anything much in particular: ‘it is not held to be a profession for a very capable or ambitious person’. One could be forgiven, when reading current laments about the state of the teaching profession, or the difficulties of attracting talented young people into teaching courses, that little has changed in the intervening 113 years.
A number of things have occurred in our School this term, however, which should give us hope. At our Gallery of Achievement dinner, in August, for example, we heard from one of our past students, Mitch Anjou (1978), who has devoted much of his working life to improving the eye health of indigenous Australians. He spoke with great passion and conviction and has helped to make significant improvement in the health outcomes of thousands of our most disadvantaged citizens. I was proud that he is an Old Boy of our School, and proud of the teachers that inspired him with such a clear and practical social conscience.