Tuesday, 3 September 2013

New Year, New Possibilities

Welcome back to school!  For students, educators and parents, this annual transition typically brings a few butterflies and a night or two of fitful sleep.  We wonder what the new school, classes, students and teachers may have to offer.  It is also a very exciting time as a fresh start always brings the promise of a better year ahead.

For our students, I encourage you to make this your best year of school yet.  The school will do their very best to provide a safe, caring, engaging and interesting learning environment, but always remember that you are in charge of your learning. Learning is not something that is done to you, but by you.  I invite you to write down a couple of goals for the year as well as an "action plan" for how you will achieve these goals.  Be specific and revisit your goals regularly during the year.  Spend some time thinking about how you learn best (become metacognitive) and self-regulate - that is, reflect on your learning and what works best for you and strive to be calm yet engaged in class.    Going to school is a tremendous opportunity to explore, learn, discover your interests and passions, meet new people, make some great friendships and have fun.  It is a time to uncover who you are and who you might become.  Care for and respect one another, always.  Engage in class, in life outside of the classroom and embrace this incredible opportunity.  See the wisdom in what most grads say every June, "wow, I can't believe how fast the time went by..." and enjoy each day.

For our teaching and support staff, I encourage you to let each student you work with know that you care about them and that you believe in their ability to learn.  Accept that change will always be (and should be) part of our profession as we desire to best prepare students for an ever-changing world.  Despite the uncertainty of provincial negotiations for support staff and teachers, remain positive, respectful and supportive of each other.  We must expect from ourselves the same as we expect from other professionals in our lives (e.g doctors, dentists, accountants, veterinarians, etc.) and continue to learn and be reflective, strive to remain current and improve our craft each year.   We all chose to work in an important, exciting and energizing profession and are fortunate to do so in a great school - I hope we love our work! 

For our parents and guardians, I urge you to stay engaged in your teens' lives. Adolescents need to develop autonomy and independence as they grow into adulthood; however, they also need parents who care, love and support them.  Parents should know their teen's timetable and teachers' names; know when parent nights and report cards are on the calendar; be checking that assignments are being completed accurately; contacting teachers when they have questions or concerns and paying attention to their teen's social habits and friends - including what they are doing online via ever expanding social media platforms.  If you have a concern, talk honestly with your child and also contact the school.  As partners, we must work together to help your teenager succeed.

As we head back, I encourage all of us who are fortunate enough to attend or work in our school to reach out and connect with one another in positive, inclusive and supportive ways.  Embrace the incredible opportunity to learn and grow together in our fabulous building.  In the end, our year will be as engaging and rewarding as we choose to make it.  

Let's make it a great one!

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