Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Winners and Losers, and those who will never know

What a busy day yesterday and today ! I sat in the magnificent chapel of Charterhouse School for the school choirs classes at Godalming Festival, remembering how, as a young 20's and early 30's teacher I brought my own choirs to compete in the same classes. Our choir name from the convent school in Littlehampton was still to be seen on the trophies. Ah..... Full circle!

The afternoon was good, I am just sad that more schools do not enter. It seems that in the Deep South of England, competition is not as popular as it was. This is, perhaps a mistake, as in essence life is competitive and we need to feel that fight or flight adrenalin, so later in life when things hit us, it is a known feeling, thus we are a trillion times more able to cope with it. If we are shielded from all types of competition, on the grounds that everything is worth a prize, or all are equal, we fall very hard further down the path of life when ultimately we realise that all are most definitely NOT equal, and we must work very hard for the prizes in real life.

Prizes are few and far between, and maybe we should be making more personal goals. The exam system is point perfect, and as it happens I played for my grandaughters exam this morning. She was nervous, fearful and scared, but she was also excited. She knows already that if she has worked, taken notice of the teacher, and believes in herself she will gain the standard and be thrilled with herself!

As we all know, well those of us over 21 and with half a brain, life is tough and coping strategies help oil the roughness of the life machine. Competition mostly makes us resilient, toughens us up, and makes us accept defeat gracefully.

If all is non competitive, how do they ever know what failure feels like ? How do they ever pick themselves up when things do not go to a deliciously comfortable plan ?

I don't know. All I do know is that it did my friends and I no harm, and it gave me a steely determination to improve, get that distinction, or win.

When I adjudicate, I love to see and almost feel dogged determination from a competitor. I love to see a singer who has a bad start come back with fire and start again. Sometimes I am more impressed by a 'survivor' than by the one for whom it is quite an easy ride.

Sometimes the dogged survivors are the biggest winners.

Pre exam teacher - pupil chat!

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