Jason Leslie is the Principal at Matthew McNair Secondary School in Richmond, BC.
Saturday, May 7, 2011
Fine Arts Night
The past 2 weeks have been eventful, challenging and tiring. The length of days has averaged 14 hours, with one going until 2 AM. Much of what I have had to deal with has involved unhappy people... parents, students and even myself. Our administrative team has begun the massive task of building next year's timetable, we had a few discipline issues that resulted in students facing some consequences for poor decisions and some in crisis from the stress of the time of year. We have even faced some criticism from a few parents for our handling of certain issues. It has been tough and sometimes I ask myself why I do what I do. But nights like this past Thursday answer the question of why I signed up to be an educator and how much I love my job.
Our school put on it's "Fine Arts Fiesta", an open house designed to showcase the talents and abilities of our students enrolled in the Arts. Artwork is hung throughout the halls and on display in classrooms, face-painting and photographs are being worked on, and parents and children are walking through the halls taking in a plethora of fantastic student work. There are special performances by our Concert and Jazz bands in the gym, improvisation, dancing, singing and acting performances in our theatre, a showcase of student work in the Computer Animated Design lab and a Fashion Show in the cafeteria showcasing student-made textile arts and crafts.
Ironically, this morning, as I was finishing off this post, I stumbled upon the blog of David Truss (Principal in Dalian, China) who wrote about Perspective and the importance of looking at the positive, rather than allowing the negative to consume all your energy and thought. An important reminder, especially when we are working through difficult situations. Try to focus on the good things in your life, and remember that the difficult things are not as bad as they may feel, and make the positives that much more sweet.
Thursday was one of those nights where the positive felt especially sweet. There was a huge audience turn out (despite it occurring during game 4 of the Canucks playoff series), and it was impressive to look at the student work, and watch their performances. They are extremely talented. But what makes the evening even better, especially given the previous couple of weeks I have been through, is that I saw kids who were extremely excited by why they were doing, and were proud to share it with parents and friends. I saw smiles, laughter, enthusiasm, pride, energy and excitement. All of the things that are most important to me in education. Events like these a perfect examples of schools helping students find their passions.
Kids being excited about the things they are doing in school. That is why I signed up to be a teacher! It was great to witness, and I want to thank the students for their energy and passion and willingness to share. Also, a special thanks for the hardworking and creative teachers who ignite the flame. What a great night!