“Volunteers are seldom paid; not because they are worthless, but because they are PRICELESS!”
This past week we celebrated National Volunteer week by hosting our annual Wilfrid Jury Volunteer Tea. We were thrilled with the number of community members who were able to join us, so that we could extend our thanks and gratitude for their work. Our library was filled with retired teachers, parents, grandparents, university students, our former crossing guard who now comes in weekly to read with our grade one students and many others. The list of services that they provide include everything from shelving books in the library, to playing the guitar for the students in our developmental classes to reading with students and assisting with clerical tasks such as changing our sign at the front of the school. Their reasons for taking the time to volunteer are as diverse as the activities that they do. The one thing that is consistent with each of our volunteers is their passion for helping students, for making a difference in the lives of our Wilfrid Jury Community. It is because of the dedication of our parent volunteers that we are able to financially support initiatives such as our Forest of Reading program and our continued efforts to ensure that our students have access to the latest technologies.
On behalf of the Wilfrid Jury school community, I would to publicly acknowledge their efforts and thank each and every one of our volunteers for the dedication of time, expertise, passion and commitment to making our school the very best that it can be. When we refer to “Excellence Through Teamwork”, we include our volunteers as a significant part of our team!
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The other day, I was sitting the front foyer with a staff member as we were trying to calm a student who was in great distress. I’m not sure that my presence was necessary, but I wanted the staff member to know that she had some support, as the child’s distress was significant at times. I also wanted the student to know that there are many adults in the school community who support her. In the midst of this session, our secretary came out to the foyer, to remind me that we had a number of volunteers in the library for our Appreciation Tea and they were waiting for me to give the welcome and to assist with the presentation of the award. I smoothed the wrinkles out of my skirt, adjusted my glasses on the top of head and secretly hoped that I didn’t have anything caught in my teeth, as a quick trip to the washroom was now out of the question. As I made my way towards the library doors, I stopped to remind a senior female student about the dress code and encouraged her to cover her shoulders. Two steps later and I was greeted by a student who needed to “check -in” with me, as he does every day. I entered the library and could see the relief on our secretary’s face, only to be greeted by a primary student who wanted to come into my office at recess and use one of the laptops. A quick “O.K, just make sure it’s an appropriate site” was the answer that he wanted and then I was home-free. I took pleasure in thanking the group of volunteers who make a tremendous difference in our school and then turned it over to another staff member who did a wonderful job of acknowledging our award winning volunteer. I quickly made the rounds, enjoyed a sliver of cake and made my way back to the office to see if indeed “an appropriate site” had been chosen ~ It had!
At the end of the day, I was meeting with the staff member whom I had joined in the front foyer earlier that day and she commented on the “glimpse” into my world that she had been a part of.
It’s days like those that I love the most.
The other day, as our flight safely touched down, the entire cabin of passengers clapped for the pilot. The gentleman behind me said, “Hey, I wish that people clapped for me at the end of my shift” and I started to think about how we demonstrate our appreciation for a job well done, in the field of education. Do our students clap for us at the end of an exciting engaging lesson? Do we receive a standing ovation when we enter our classrooms at the beginning of the day?
Often times, in my role as an administrator, I receive lots of emails and phone calls about concerns, but every once in a while, I’ll get a call from a parent saying, “Thanks”. I wonder if they know how important those words of appreciation are?
I often ask myself, am I demonstrating enough appreciation for our staff ~ Do I tell them often enough what a great job they are doing day in and day out?
I am truly blessed to work with a number of staff members who demonstrate their appreciation in a variety of ways ~ cards, notes, cups of hot chocolate, gift certificates and of course, chocolate treats surprising me on my desk…smile
As I begin a new week, I’m going to make a concerted effort to “figuratively” clap for those teachers who land their planes safely every day. We all have days where the turbulence is more noticeable than others ~ days where we joke about “buckling our seatbelts as we’re in for a bumpy ride”. But at the end of each day, we safely land those planes and send our students home, with more knowledge and more curiosity than what they arrived with that morning.