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Respectful, Responsible, Involved

Every year most of us start the school year refreshed and ready to go. Usually, by the end of the year, everyone is exhausted and probably a little cranky. It happens that way almost every year. I’m not sure this can be avoided especially when you take the process of learning as seriously as we do at Bassano School.

Over this past year, we have tried a few new things just to add to the flavour of learning for students. For example, we purchased the program CodeCombat which teaches students how to code in either Python or Java. That may sound Greek to some of you, but it is virtual based programming or a digital program you use to make your life easier. We added robotics as well, which also uses a form of coding to program little robots for the task you want them to do.

I read an article recently that despite how comfortable or uncomfortable you and I are with technological advances, it is coming and we need to make sure we prepare our students for a future that will be vastly different than what I grew up with. I remember those years of rabbit ears antennas wrapped in tin foil to get better reception on the TV, even if it was farmer vision with one or two channels. We didn’t have a TV growing up, so we had to go to the neighbours to watch Sunday evening Wonderful World of Disney.

Today, our children are not satisfied unless we have the latest and greatest of technology to keep them entertained, which honestly makes our role as teachers more difficult. How do you engage a student with a SmartBoard, a textbook, a mini-lecture, a Chromebook, and some project work when they are spending up to five hours an evening gaming on their PS4 or computer equipped with a headset which they use to communicate with another gamer half way across the world? Add to this, kids are texting each other while they sit across the room from each other. Somewhere along the way, we’ve embraced the technology boom but forgot to teach our kids and some adults of the importance of social etiquette, which is not substituted by social media.

When did we decide that 140 character snippets of communication on someone’s Facebook status or Instagram account was better than picking up a phone and have a real conversation?

While we want to the students to come to school and learn about technology and it’s many wonderful uses, we still need to teach the importance of our school motto - Respectful, Responsible, and Involved.

I was listening to Erwin McManus last week talking about the importance of “doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly.” He elaborated on the loving kindness by reminding the listeners that it’s easy to “do kindness” but a much more difficult task to “love kindness.” If we were called to do kindness, often we do kindness when it suits us, but if you love kindness, this is a call to be kind even when it isn’t on our own terms. So we teach our students of the importance to be kind and respectful no matter what. We talk about how gossip and spreading rumours are not respectful and kind. Being respectful isn’t something we turn on when someone is watching, it’s on all the time. This isn’t an easy task.

We also teach the value of being responsible and telling the truth. It’s never okay to lie. My father-in-law has a saying, “the truth will out.” I realise it’s not proper grammar, but it’s just a shortened down version of “the truth will always come out.” I always tell the students don’t lie because the truth always comes out and we’ll know. We want out students to be responsible, and part of being responsible is being truthful.

Finally, we teach the importance of community. Communities grow and thrive when everyone is involved. There’s always a role for someone in every event.  Too often it’s the person standing behind the microphone that gets most of the recognition. We forget about the all important workers who quietly and invisibly work behind the scenes. We don’t want our students thinking that the only reason you get involved is if you get the ribbon, awards, plaques, or public recognition. We get involved because communities depend on everyone pulling together with a common purpose.

We strive to make engaged thinkers who are also ethical citizens with an entrepreneurial spirit. We call this being Respectful, Responsible, and Involved.

Sincerely,

Mr. Vincent Hill, Principal           Ms. Ruth Tkachyk, Vice-Principal