We had the pleasure of a visit by the British Ambassador to Vietnam who gave up more than an hour of his valuable time to take part in a forum with Year 10 students during which he spoke most eloquently on the subject of the advantages of a British-style education. Without repeating all of his words, what resonated most with me was his advice to follow your passion when choosing a university course and not focussing entirely on what career path you want to follow for your working life that lies beyond.
This can be phrased far better than I ever could by the educator and thinker, Parker J. Palmer,
“The deepest vocational question is not “What ought I to do with my life?” It is the more elemental and demanding ‘Who am I? What is my nature?’”
In other words, do we want to spend our lives pursuing something that we are not, or focus on what we are: perhaps it is down to the concept of a career versus a vocation. The etymology of each of these words is most revealing. The word vocation comes from the Latin word “vocare” or “to call.” It suggests a disembodied hailing that draws us to a specific purpose that is just right for us. Juxtapose this with the other word, career. This derives from the Latin word for cart and the Middle French word for race track. The visual imagery is not complex: a slow moving plod in a cobbled together vehicle that moves endlessly, round and round and round.
The solution, of course, is probably neither one nor the other. We can pursue our passion, but we must be acutely aware of how we can live and provide for our family and loved ones. To ignore the pragmatic is utopian idealism, but to dedicate one’s life to a career that does not at least provide some degree of passion is surely a heavy burden to even contemplate. Perhaps that why I feel so privileged to be involved in education: I am following my vocation that is also my passion!
And before I go, I would like to apologise to the BIS Community for missing the BBGV Fun Run this Sunday. Whilst not pausing on the apparent oxymoron (not paradox) of the words “fun and “run” appearing in the same sentence , I cannot pretend I will miss the mammoth task of heaving my 98 kilo frame around a 4K run, but I will miss the chance to take part in what is one of the go-to community activities of the year. I will be in Singapore attending a Nord Anglia workshop on Apple technology in the classroom. However, I will be thinking of you all at the 8:00am start time.
Tim Deyes, Principal