From the Principal’s Desk, 23 August, 2018 – Responsibility
Throughout time the concept of responsibility in education has always been a hot topic. When a child does not do their homework; is it the fault of the child or the parent? When a child fails an assignment; is it the fault of the child or the teacher? Or if a child does not obtain their international qualification; is it the fault of the child, the parent, the teacher or the school?
I believe that for quality education to be achieved, all key players must assume their respective responsibilities. A teacher must prepare for their classes, create stimulating lessons, encourage and motivate their students, grade work and provide constructive feedback, a student must be punctual for lessons, do the work required, be an active participant in their learning and make the most of every opportunity presented to them and a parent must encourage their child to do their own work, hold them accountable for their actions and support the institution to which they belong. This can never be a one sided partnership – student, teacher and parent must all work together to reach the ultimate goal. The 3 way partnership is paramount and sadly there are no short cuts to success.
Over the past few years it is sad to see how often taking responsibility for oneself and their actions is replaced by the blame game. It seems that every aspect of society demonstrates examples of this; “I am unemployed because of the government has not given me a job”, “I failed my exams because my teachers were poor”, “What’s the point of having integrity when everyone around me is corrupt” etc. One can be forgiven for falling into this trap of not taking responsibility for your own actions including the direction of your future path, especially when there are so few role models out there but that in itself is even more reason to “own it”. When I was in grade 9, I recall my Science teacher slapping me in my face for talking while standing in the line outside her classroom. I promised myself there and then that I would never again work in her class. I went for several years blaming her for me not choosing Science as a subject for the rest of High School. Although what happened was completely unacceptable, I alone was responsible for that decision. It never hurt her that I did not take Science as a subject, only myself. I completely abdicated all responsibility for that foolish decision that I alone made. And sadly, I see this too often in some of our students today – there are ample opportunities available at HBIS, and the school has a proven track record of positive results, the teachers provide sound advice and some students will still find an excuse as to why they cannot or will not perform. The difference between students who accept responsibility for their learning and those that do not is like day and night. Their attitude is different, their determination is different, their approaches to problem solving and setbacks is different. And they are ultimately the ones who get ahead.
I learnt a long time ago, that I alone am responsible for my actions (good or bad) – sure there may be influences that can affect my decisions, but I alone am the “master of my fate and the captain of my soul”. Imagine the possibilities when a school, community or country can fully embrace this and assume full responsibility of their actions, the effects will be truly amazing.