Each and every day, our students – individually and collectively – make their teachers feel proud. From attempting to write their name for the first time to performing brilliantly as a team at a fixture, the fulfilment we take in seeing progress and achievement is part of the reason we are drawn to the profession. This week, our Year 3 children have given us even greater cause to feel pride. Having spent the last two days accompanying their camp to Umm Al Quwain with a wonderful team of staff, I was thrilled with the lead instructor’s parting words, “We always look forward to your school coming, the children’s manners are amazing. I hope we will see you again next year.”
Now, it is little surprise that our children remembered to say “please” and “thank you” at mealtime or to listen politely when their instructors were speaking: these are expectations we have of them at school and that we know you will also encourage them at home. However, it was when observing their interactions when faced with entirely new situations that it became clear that good manners are part of the character of our Reptonians. At dinner, children who were served first waited for their peers to have food before eating. Ryan, who was at the front of the line for the ‘catwalk’ decided to go to the end of the line for the next activity. Others readily offered to make room for their teammates, share a spare towel when one had been forgotten and cleared away litter accidentally left behind by friends. When the children had finished canoeing, a cheer of thanks erupted without being prompted by a teacher.
Dubai’s multicultural makeup is part of its beauty; acceptable social etiquette is therefore every bit as diverse. However, eye contact, smiling, holding a door and wishing someone a good day are universally appreciated. At Repton Al Barsha, being polite is a fundamental part of the education we believe in, role-modelled by every member of staff who works with our students. Good manners help to set a positive tone in our environment, they demonstrate respect for one another and encourage a spirit of service. Reptonians carry this with them beyond Repton’s walls; as this week’s camp confirms, our manners set a positive first impression, give the appearance of self-assuredness and help us to stand out from the crowd. As Efe put it over breakfast yesterday, “Manners show others that we care.”
It is buoyed by the impact our wonderful manners have had that we set our students a challenge. Next week, we will be running a whole-school House Competition to find the House with the best manners. Perhaps you would like to join in at home, asking your children to assist with chores or help younger siblings with their homework. There is little doubt that a school focused on ‘prosocial’ behaviour is bound to have a greater sense of community but perhaps we will find, as Stanford University’s 2021 study showed, those who put others first will themselves feel happier as a result too.
Deputy Head Academic – Junior School
Repton Al Barsha