“The secret of happiness is freedom, the secret of freedom is courage.”
To the best of my knowledge, the above clip represents my official debut on You Tube- courtesy one of our intermediate students- and yes, I did agree to it being posted 🙂
When we get to the end of May and into June two things intensify in most schools; the heat and the level of stress. It’s true that the last month of school can be a time filled with lots of great memories and traditions but it also a time where families get busy with out of school activities and the nights get later, while students and staff are working to complete the many end of year assignments and responsibilities that are part and parcel of the school year. Included in this time frame is the annual provincial EQAO assessment written by all our grade 3 and 6 students- a two week process that, in spite of our best efforts, always increases the level of stress that both the children and adults in the building feel.
This year, we’ve tried to keep our May and early June as quiet and on-routine as possible and really scaled back some of the events and activities that were previously part of this time of year- and it has helped. Keeping routine is a critical component of an effective school- regardless of what we may think- children crave routine and are quick to let us know through their behavior when we deviate from the norm.
Keeping our routine, however, doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun- especially at this time of year! So, when our students challenged me to perform a Justin Bieber song after they had exceeded the target for funds raised in our spring dance-a-thon I agreed and set to work.
The theme of this month’s assembly was courage so I decided that, rather than lip synch ‘JB” I would put myself out there and belt out a tune at our May assembly for students, staff and parents- scary as it was, it was a lot of fun! I’m very grateful to Shane Jeffers; one of our Classroom Tutors, for his skilled guitar playing and harmony. The video does a nice job of capturing the moment; you can hear the kids chiming along, see the arms waving and the dancing and the laughter. This dancing and laughter was not particular to my little piece- I was proud to follow a wonderful, lively song and dance by our Mrs. Jagoe’s Kindergarten class and a drop-dead brilliant flash mob by Ms McAlear’s grade 6 class- the same grade 6 students who spent the previous 4 days writing the EQAO assessment!
The dichotomy of a public school is intriguing: as serious a business public education is; it is equally essential that our schools be places of joy and fun- and the adults have an important role in modeling this for our students and families. I’ll close with a great quote from Todd Whitaker; a former school principal who now writes and speaks widely, that has always stuck with me:
“We are very fortunate to work in education; sometimes we just forget how blessed we are. By consistently filtering out the negatives that don’t matter and sharing a positive attitude, we can create a much more successful school. Consciously or unconsciously, we decide the tone of our school.” ~Todd Whitaker~
Serious business, this fun thing, serious indeed 🙂