To say that School Business Managers in the UK have a very varied job role would be the understatement of the century. The variety is what most of us love about it but, and I still can’t quite believe this myself, at the end of March I’m taking it to a whole new level!
I’ll be honest. I’ve held off telling you about this for fear of jinxing it, for fear of someone rumbling me and changing their mind, and in fear of my being struck down with a debilitating illness which meant I couldn’t go. But I’ve decided I’m now going to risk it, so here goes…
At the end of March I am leading a trip to the United Nations in New York City so that we can change the world!
That’s right. Me, a humble (little-travelled) SBM, and seven students are going to the Model UN Change the World Conference to debate the real issues of our planet with 3000 other students from around the world. I don’t know who is more excited. Me or them. (Actually I do know.)
I haven’t made life easy for myself and we are not going with a tour operator. I’ve opted for the 4 day conference package (a mid-town room-only Manhattan hotel and entrance to the conference), I’ve booked flights, I’ve booked restaurants, I’ve even found somewhere to have breakfast. I’ve planned the schedule like a military operation so that we can see maximum sights at minimum cost and I’ve risk assessed it to within an inch of its life!
It is going to be full-on!
When I showed them the itinerary and told the students not to expect much sleep over the 4 day trip they looked a bit aghast. “We’ll sleep on the plane home” I said.
“What about the plane journey over there?” asked one cleverclogs.
“We’ll be continuing work on our debate preparation.” I replied.
To be fair, they have already put some effort in and produced four position papers for the committees we are involved in;
- Threats from climate change
- Sustainable development in post-conflict areas
- The refugees right to Education
- Threats to International Peace
I know what you’re thinking. Sounds heavy. But you then need to factor in that we have also been assigned a nation to represent at the conference and we are therefore debating as ambassadors for… Cote d’Ivoire.
How exciting is that?
Not only do we get to discuss real world issues but we get to do it from the standpoint of a beautiful West African nation, which I now know more about than you’d ever believe.
I won’t deny that the trip is keeping me awake at night. Questions such as “How long will it take us to get from A-B?” “Will everyone have the opportunity to eat in that time window?” “What will I do if such-and-such happens?” I also have to put my brave hat on when the students start talking about debating which (shh) I have absolutely no experience of at this kind of level.
I am, however, being supported by some wonderful, generous folk at school who are offering advice, encouragement and helping me get to grips with the formality of a debating conference. The students I’m going with are capable, curious, and as adventurous as me. I’m sure we will all have a fabulous time.
So I apologise now if my #SBLTwitter is overrun at the end of March with my excited tweets about New York. Please could you keep your eye on me in case of inner wobble on the bravery front and, SBMs of the world, if you ever get a fantastic opportunity like this, grab it – because we can do this.
18 days and counting…I’ve got this!