Sometimes I think that “Ask Mr. Beveridge” is the default setting with people around here. I’m not complaining, just making an observation. I love being approachable, and having students feel comfortable asking for help.
Today I was asked about the school talent show. I have been asked about this student initiative many times over the past few school days, and my answer is usually “I don’t know.” Information was announced on the public address system today, so students should be able to tell me what is going on. I will ask tomorrow.
I was also asked where there might be any boxes. Sorry, “I don’t know.” The students were successful in finding one, but they did it without my help. I don’t know where they found it.
“Mr. Beveridge, do you know where my class is?” - “I don’t know, but let’s go look.”
“Mr. Beveridge, do you know where my friends are?” – “I don’t know. Perhaps you could look outside as it is recess right now.”
I used to think that “I don’t know” was not a good answer. Once upon a time, I felt that I should know everything. Thankfully, I no longer believe that. Not knowing is a great way to help our students. Sometimes the best help I can give them is is not helping, and letting them help themselves.
Once again I find myself thinking about needing to find the time to blog more. Actually, I realize I need to make the time, so today, I will start with my morning coffee (Thanks Delany’s) and a blog. I have to be quick about it, as people will be coming in soon to see if I’m busy of have a minute.
Today we have a fire drill scheduled in the morning, and an Irish dance group in the afternoon. Another busy day.
We (school staffs) sometimes moan about the need for so many fire drills or other emergency procedures, but we know how important they are. We prepare the students by reminding them about our expectations, and we practice. Teachers will talk to their classes prior to known drills, and then review with them how things went. For me, there are a few key points all students and staff must remember; everyone out of the building quickly (everyone out under two minutes), washrooms checked by designated staff, everyone meet at the assembly area (lower field), classes report in to Mrs. Devlin (“Everyone in division E01 present.”), office staff confirms that everyone (students and adults alike) are accounted for. Students and staff wait silently until the “all clear” is signaled.
A lot of things go in to making a fire drill successful. Prior to the drill, I (or Mrs. McGuire – our VP) communicate with the staff and expect them to be aware of the procedures for a fire drill. We have reviewed these in staff meetings, but reminders are good ideas for all of us. If there is a teacher-on-call in a class, I check in with him/her to see that the plans are clear. I need to call our security company and check in, then call the fire department and let them know we are having a drill. I then select a fire alarm pull station, and at the agreed upon time, I pull the alarm, and turn on my stopwatch.
It is loud in our school when the fire bell goes. We still expect the students to be silent, and to follow the directions of their teachers (or the adults with them). Last one out, please close the door. If students are not with their class, they are to go with another class or another adult to the assembly area and meet up with their teacher.
The classes empty out, someone is carrying the grab’n'go kit (thanks to PAC members, this is always up to date), and head out to their exit doors.
After about 4 minutes, I silence the alarms. The hallways are still. Doors are all closed, and I wait. I am waiting for Mrs. McGuire or Mrs. Devlin to let me know (via two-way radio) when everyone has been accounted for. Once they let me know that we have counted everyone, I ring the school bells (3 times) and everyone starts to come in.
Students are back in class. The office is open again. And I continue with my tasks – calling the Fire Department and the Security company, discussing with staff their thoughts on how well the fire drill went, and checking in on classes.
All of the above should be completed in 25 minutes.
Looking forward to the Eire Born Irish dance group in the afternoon. That will be the more relaxing part of the day.
Some days I spend very little time in my office. I like to visit the 20 classes and see the learning that is going on. I like to sit down with students and work with them on math, or have them share with me about their school work.
My goal was to spend more time in my office today. I had a couple of parent meetings in the morning, and then I was going to work on the school plan or work through my ‘”todo” list. I was able to get through many things this morning, but the afternoon looked a bit different. My office was taken over by grade 7′s. So I went for a walkabout.
When you see grade 7 students in the Principal’s office, you might assume that they may have committed some form of offense. I have had students sent to my office for hitting, swearing, missing school, disrupting class, stealing,… The list goes on, and I won’t mention all the reasons.
These grade 7′s, however, were in my office for very different reasons. Our grade 7 students are doing a number different leadership projects. We have bloggers, grade 7 yearbook committee members, a year end slide show team, the talent show group, and students who are helping out with different school events.
The grade 7 yearbook committee needed a place to work on editing all the pictures that have been taken of our grade 7 throughout the year. Their teacher and parent sponsor of the committee needed a bit of help, so the committee has been spending some time in my office going through the photos. There are 11 committee members, so they are taking turns. At one point this week, every committee member has worked in here. They come in groups of 2′s or 3′s, and seem to be enjoying their work.
While one of the groups on the yearbook committee was working, two more students were working in my office writing up an announcement for the school website (Father Daughter Dance – coming soon). With all these students in my office, there was no room for me, so I left. I went and found children doing math. I love math, but, as they were doing a test, I don’t think they were loving it right then. Even though they were doing a test, I still helped a little – shhh. Don’t tell their teacher.
Back in my office, they finished the school web site announcement (and checked with me before saving it online), and went back to class. A new group of yearbook students came in and took over the committee’s laptop.
Some of the groups are a bit louder than others. They laugh at the pictures, or discover that the photo albums include videos. These videos can lead to a few giggles.
Some times they whisper to each other.
“What was that,” I ask.
“Nothing,” they reply.
I am able to get some work done when they are in here. They respond well to redirection (if needed) and are quite keen to work on this project. I am looking forward to the finished product.
There have been at least 17 students who have worked in my office this week, and it’s only Tuesday. Being in the Principal’s office is not always a bad thing.
This afternoon, one of our grade 3 students seemed quite pleased to let me know that he knew “my real name.” When he told me that I thought, “Of course you do Kaiden. I’ve been here for two years.”
He quickly added, “It’s Doug.”
It turns out, he was reading my name tag. The North Vancouver School District recently provided me with a new name tag that has my first and last name on it. Many students like the new name tag, as it has help them to discover my “real name.”
I am sometimes asked by students if they can call me “Doug.” I gently let them know that I would prefer they call me Mr. Beveridge, or Mr. B for short.
It seems fair that they know my real name, after all, I know theirs.
Today we came back to school after a two week Spring Break. I’m not sure about the rest of you, but I sure needed that vacation. I spent my time reading, sleeping in, and cutting firewood on Denman Island. I’m ready for term 3 now.
We welcomed 4 new students to Cleveland today, and we have another new student coming on Thursday. If your child is in one of the following divisions – E02, E05, F09 or F12 – ask him/her about the new student in their room. Our students do an excellent job making new students feel welcome. Thank you students, and thank you PAC (and Mel) for making their families feel welcomed as well.
It was wonderful to see so many parents in the school signing up for the parent/teacher interviews. If you are interested in signing up for an interview slot, come in soon, or contact your child’s teacher directly.
Our French Immersion students (and those who take French in grades 5, 6 and 7) were invited to the gym for a presentation from Théâtre La Siezième. The gym was filled, and everyone seemed to have a good time. Ask you children about it.
We also continued with gymnastics. Both gyms have gymnastics equipment set up, and the two Gym Sense instructors are doing an excellent job.