Sunday, 13 June 2010

Madonna dell'Umiltà

Vitale da Bologna (~1309 - 1369)

The exam season is ended for another year...
well...not quite...
because the scripts must be packed away,
the minutes of the various meetings written,
marks delivered to the Examinations Office
and the results of the Finalists published.

But the hard work is done
and I can move on to other things.

The last task is to meet students who have failed.
There are all sorts of reasons why this might happen
and inevitably the meetings are distressing.
As we waited for the first student
I looked around at the other people in the room
and I knew that there could not be
a more conscientious and caring group of academics;
their only motivation to ensure
that the best outcome for each student is achieved.
It is not the sort of thing that is mentioned
in the prospectus or departmental reviews
but I wanted you to know about it.
Compassion is a rare thing.


The academic who has just come back from Japan
had an unexpected trip to Italy this weekend.
He won't have time for looking at frescoes
but if he did he could see the work of Vitale da Bologna.


  1. I wish you luck. Kind helpful advice at this stage for those who failed may prevent those students from becoming some of society's future problems.
    I am sure you will say just what they need to hear- truth in a kindly wrapper.

  2. That picture of the Madonna could not of been more fitting with a post about compassion of others; this is a mercy.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. As freshman year ended for Middle, I ran in to several fellow moms many of whom were recovering from their children's failures. I felt for each of them but had not considered the compassion of their professors until I read this post.

  4. Your extended family sounds lovely...thanks for sharing :-) I always love the artwork you choose!

  5. AnonymousJune 13, 2010

    You are a wonder, and yes, sometimes compassion seems like a rare thing, but I sincerely hope it is not.
    What a painful place to be for all.
    I think that you are a gift to those around you.

  6. Compassion is, as you quite rightly say, a rare thing. But where you do find it, a good one.

  7. AnonymousJune 13, 2010

    The life of a student can be difficult. It's diffiult work to survive with thrift and work hard.

  8. I am into the last week of intense marking and am eating yesterday's pasta, reheated, while family feast elsewhere. In sight of morning indeed at four am this morning when I sat on the back step inhaling the rain! Pause for relief now- thank you!

  9. How so very true ...

  10. I hope it went ok, how lovely to work with people with such integrity and care

  11. Compassion is indeed rare, but when on the receiving end is something that is never forgotten however long ago it was. Hope all went ok. Cat x


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