#17 New Interstellar Solutions
As shared with British School Muscat’s Year 11 and 13 students during their Celebration Assembly, May 2020.
You may know that Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi masterpiece Interstellar is one of my favourite films. In it, a space pilot called Cooper has been forced to be a farmer in a world that is so badly polluted with dust storms that it can only support human life for a few more years. The fight for human survival on Earth is effectively over.
The only hope is to start a civilisation afresh on another planet, but planets that could support colonies, even with advanced space travel, are out of reach. However, with his daughter’s help, Cooper and his team use creative thinking (and the power of a wormhole) to eventually save the human race and start life again in different locations across the universe.
But will Cooper’s survivors treat their newly found worlds with any more care and respect than they did planet Earth or will the crisis scenario continue? Nolan’s film raises challenging questions about love, life and the nature of our existence: and right now many of us are thinking about such things every day.
When I first saw Interstellar it prompted me to consider how we can, working together, try to lessen the impact of climate change. Today, my focus is different, and perhaps even more concerning – the global public health crisis that has brought Covid-19 to almost every settlement and doorstep far and wide.
Our school and many others have been turned upside down by lockdown, by our forced separation from personal contact, by our inability to enjoy school face-to-face, and by our own fears and those of our families and friends. We at BSM have quickly adapted our teaching techniques to continue to provide top quality education online, by devising creative tasks, video teaching, games, exercises and stories. But the nature of our existence has dramatically changed, and for some, what we used to consider as normal may never again be the same.
For those leaving us this summer, and particularly those in Year 11 and 13, it is of course disappointing to end your time in lockdown, although I am sure that you will take with you many happy memories of BSM. Some comments made earlier this year sum up the positives we have shared:
“I feel like being here is like being in a big family….it is a climate that pushes you to do better”
“So many doors are open to me.”
“It has shaped me as a person and how I view the world.”
“I feel ready for the future.”
“We all do care about each other, everyone is in the same boat at the end of the day.”
I, and all of your teachers, are so inspired by your words and take great comfort from them. I would like to take this opportunity to thank your families and teachers for all their dedication, encouragement and support.
During your time at BSM you have experienced a broad and balanced curriculum both inside and outside the classroom, where all subjects are equally valued. This over-arching ethos to all we do also plays out on our sports fields and halls, swimming pools and our stage. Coupling this with the dramatic mountains, desert, wadis and oceans of Oman, plus its community spirit, has given you a truly unique experience.
As you move on to the next stage of your education I am confident that you will face life after the pandemic in a positive frame of mind – with creativity, flexible thinking and ingenuity learned through mathematics, science and English as well as art, dance, design, drama and music.
I am also confident that as global citizens and leaders, you will be able to explain complex issues to others to persuade them to act differently and more sensitively.
I believe that you will find peaceful and diplomatic solutions to problems, using teamwork, collaboration, empathy and negotiation learned through subjects such as PE, geography, history, languages, business studies and psychology.
And above all, I know that you will persevere to achieve your goals and, in your own way, you will all help to make the world a better place.
Take care, stay safe and keep in touch.