Thursday, 2 February 2017

Setting the starting note (2017 Term 1 Week 1)

There is a strange parallel between singing 'Happy Birthday to you' and the school year. Setting the right starting note is crucial. While it is possible to drag the harmony back to something vaguely pleasing as the song/year is underway, it is so much easier if you start on the right note. In speaking to the students of both the Senior School and Junior School on the first day this year, I urged them to do three things: respect the space; respect the learning; and respect one another. It seems to me that these three commitments hold the key to a successful year for all of us.

Respecting the space is vital for us this year. Respect is not just a matter of maintaining and caring for our facilities, although this is certainly a starting point. It also extends to recognising the purpose of the various spaces around the school, and using them appropriately. Some spaces are for noisy, boisterous play, some are for quiet focused study, some are for sitting, and some are for transit. We respect the space when we use it for its purpose. Under the constraints of this phase of our building project, where Junior School playground space and access routes around the school are reduced, we respect the space by recognising how it needs to be used in the life of the community.

The view from my desk of the After School Study program in the new Learning Commons

Likewise, respecting the learning applies on a number of levels. This commitment from the students will lead them to apply themselves to the tasks before them, recognising that the work is not intended just to keep them busy and out of mischief, but that it is meaningful. Respect for learning also engenders a sense of humility; we do not yet know everything and there is learning to be done. Hopefully this respect will also encourage them not to seek ways to evade or find shortcuts around their work.

Finally, respect for one another needs to undergird our community. As a Christian school, believing that each person is made in the image of God and therefore inherently worthy of respect, Inaburra students and staff treat one another well. Ideally, this will look like support for one another, consideration of one another, encouragement of one another and kindness to one another.

There is nothing revolutionary, innovative or earth-shattering about these themes. They are basic building blocks for our shared experience. However, my hope and prayer is that starting with these basics will enable us to have another wonderful year at Inaburra.

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