Sunday, 26 June 2016

An Open Letter to Staff, Parents, and Students of St. Martin's School

Dear Staff, Parents, and Students of St. Martin's School,

A little over five years ago, former Superintendent of Elk Island Catholic Schools, Chris Diachuk, offered me the opportunity to become the new assistant principal of St. Martin’s Catholic School. This was an opportunity that I had been striving towards for many years. I had a wife who was so very supportive and young children who thought it was very cool and exciting that Daddy was going to be an assistant principal.

I agreed with my girls that it was going to be exciting, but I was also very scared. I was working in a K-9 school at Holy Redeemer, but I was a junior high teacher who had focused on mathematics and physical education. Sure, I had been asked to teach a few grade five classes, but how was I going to fare in this new environment where most of the students were looking forward to losing teeth and as opposed to gaining a learner’s permit or a first job? Reflecting back now, it wasn’t so hard and my fears disappeared rather quickly. I realized one of the questions I needed to ask was, “What do young people want?” The answer was relatively simple: it is what all of us want. Like us, young people want to be heard, they want to be loved, and they want an opportunity to grow. For me personally, that is what I strived for. In any interactions with students, I was looking for ways to show I cared, to truly listen, and I was looking for ways to help students grow (in their faith, in their learning, and in their development as young people moving toward adulthood). Another understanding that I came to know that has been solidified for me time and time again is the understanding that the work we do in education is all about relationships. I have continually tried to develop positive and productive relationships with students, staff, and with the parent community. I hope to continue to do this. It is only in positive relationships that great work can be done. As individuals, we may not always agree, but if we work together with mutual respect, we can come to a solution that will work for all involved.