November 1, 2012
Online Journal - September Reflections
Lara Melashenko, Principal, Chinook Winds Adventist Academy, Calgary, AB

It is difficult for me to concede that September and October have come and gone! Where did  these days go? The month of September is a whirlwind of activity for all members of a school community: teachers, students, parents, pastors, custodians, volunteers, extended family and friends. As I contemplate some of the new events and changes that have taken place this fall at my school, Chinook Winds Adventist Academy, I am amazed. To name just a few: new class lists, new schedules, new friendships, new seating arrangements, new supervision schedules, new Teachers (and Principal), new curriculum, new teaching strategies and classroom management techniques, new emergency plans, new immunizations, new custodians, new maintenance needs, new technology plans, new hallway floors, new soccer nets, new jerseys, new flags for recess football. We’ve hosted new parent orientation sessions and a curriculum evening. We’ve welcomed new families into our school from near and far, raised money for school improvements (SUPT, Hike-a-Thon, Fruits & Nuts), accumulated food for the less fortunate, hired new teachers and educational assistants, purchased laptop carts, appointed new Student Association officers. We’ve attended outings to the Calgary Science Center (Kindergarten), Elk Valley Flats Campground (Secondary Students), Outdoor Education trip (Grade 9). We’ve learned about Google Mail, Google Docs, Google Calendars, RenWeb, ParentsWeb, Promethean ActivBoard, Alberta Schools’ Athletic Association, Rideau Elementary Music Resources. There have been an enormous number of new experiences and firsts!
As educators, we embrace the busy-ness of September and October because, first and foremost, we love Jesus and we believe He has called us to teach. We count on, and seek His blessing and strength as we prepare for each ‘new’ change and each new day. Second, God has given us a love for children and we are inspired and energized by working with and serving children. As Ellen White once said, “Love, the basis of creation and of redemption, is the basis of true education” (Education, p. 16). We believe we are privileged as Christian educators because Jesus first loved us and His love compels us to educate in love. In doing this, we desire to truly educate our students for His honor and glory.
In his book, What Great Teachers Do Differently (17 Things That Matter Most), Todd Whitaker says, “One of the best things about being a teacher is that teaching makes a difference. What makes teaching hard is that it matters every day!” (Eye on Education Publishing, 2012, p 47). As Adventist Educators, we believe that we do make a difference, not just for today, but for all eternity. We are energized by the truth that God – the greatest teacher of all time, partners with us each and every day – to make an eternal difference in our students’ lives.
And so, at the completion of our busy first two months of school, we pause to give thanks for the 173 beautiful, unique and precious children God has provided to make a difference with Him at Chinook Winds Adventist Academy. And we also give thanks for the strength and passion God has placed within us to minister to and educate our children. May we all revel in His new gifts each day and may November be less busy!