Why the new academic year reminds me of Ancient Rome

When I was a small boy my older sister was convinced that she would grow up to be an archaeologist despite the lack of job advertisements online – ‘professional digger’ was not typically high on the list of classifieds. Our yard became her personal archaeological dig and our house became a museum for the relics she found. I remember being quite young when I asked her about a particularly strange statue in her room. It was a stone carving of a man with two faces much like the picture below.


The statue was a (fake) carving of the ancient Roman god Janus. It was said that Janus was the god of endings and beginnings, transitions and was usually depicted as having two faces since he looked to the past and to the future.

As each new year begins, and with every new beginning, I think about that statue. Not because I am as obsessed with archaeology as my sister, but because Janus always makes me think about where I have been and where I am going.

When our students walk through the doors of our school to begin their new academic year, it is important that they look back on what they have achieved so far before looking towards their future year. Over the course of the previous year, our senior students achieved some truly amazing things – some of which I have written about in previous blogs.

And as we turn our faces to the future and look ahead, we must recognise that our students are the ‘why’ behind everything that we do. Why do we update our programmes of study? Why do we refresh our classrooms with new coats of paint? Why do we as teachers engage in professional development? Why do we plan and teach and turn up to school every day? The answer to all of these questions is ‘the students’ and when we look ahead we must keep that in mind. We must remember that for the upcoming year, just like the past year, the students are placed at the forefront every day.

At ISM we are about to embark on a year of ‘firsts’. Much of the change on the way was brought about due to student requests, parent feedback and the need to constantly innovate. We are bringing new subjects to the school including being able to offer Visual Arts in the Diploma course for the first time this year. A new space for the seniors to lounge that is dedicated to Grade 11 and 12 is also new for 2019. A re-invented club and activity program offers opportunity for all students to take part in extra-curricular pursuits is starting this month. More exciting initiatives are taking place in Middle Years and Primary School and if you want to know more about these, please be in touch, or ask one of our students.

As a taster for the upcoming year, I can reveal that we have reinvigorated the school’s Vision statement and Mission statement. The task took us almost a year to complete (and deserves its own blog at a later date) and it was something that could not have been done without the help of teachers, parents and of course students. Much like Janus, we looked back on where we had come from as a school and everything that had brought us to this year before redefining our school’s direction. Our new Vision and Mission will guide our future and represents a big part of the change this year.

Our achievements have been many, but defining what we want to achieve for the new year is important for students and teachers alike. And now that we have reflected on where we have come from, we become future-focused in our learning, teaching and thinking.

A heartfelt welcome to all new and returning students and I look forward to the year of discovery ahead.

#ISMainfranken #IBDP

Picture retrieved from:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Janus1.JPG