'Tis the Season for Mount Kelly Values

As I write, we approach the end of term and Christmas is just round the corner. The teachers and children are beginning to get the festive feels, with talk of Christmas Jumper Day and end of term celebrations, despite the fact we have been able to enjoy a Starbucks Christmas coffee since October! As we reach the end of the calendar year, we may reflect upon the events of 2020 and remember the difficulties encountered. Yet, with the recent American holiday of Thanksgiving in mind, I can’t help but feel we have a great deal to be thankful for.

Students at the Christmas concert

I am thankful for safer times. I am thankful for the wonders of technology that enable learning to continue at home. I am thankful for fantastic colleagues and their dedication to the children we teach. And I am thankful for the wonderful children and families of Mount Kelly who have shown resilience and a brilliantly positive mindset. Whether learning in school or online, our flexibility, adaptability and positivity are all the stronger. Online lessons have continued, as well as weekly assemblies in which we focus upon the Mount Kelly Values. And it is the values of our school that I wish to discuss now.

We begin with Kindness. Kindness improves our quality of life. It brings people together. Doing good for others feels good. Showing kindness to others is just as rewarding as receiving it from someone else. Our second value, Enthusiasm, encourages us to learn new skills and abilities when we take the time to put in consistent effort. Every new success that we achieve through our efforts increases our confidence in ourselves and our abilities. Enthusiasm keeps us focused on success. Our third value, Love of Learning, encourages each of us to enjoy what we do because we'll then be more open and enthusiastic about change and discovery. The fourth value, Leadership, is important as great leaders help people grow. They willingly share what they know and seek learning opportunities for others. And our final value, Celebrating You, is something we greatly value in the classroom and we eagerly await the end of year assemblies and prize givings.

Students sharing at Mount Kelly school

With Christmas upon us and time away from schoolwork, I encourage our pupils to reflect upon how they embody the school values. Not just how they use the values in school, but how they embody these values in their wider lives. Will they show Kindness to others this Christmas, to their friends, their families, their teachers? How will they show kindness? Will they put enough effort and Enthusiasm into their endeavours whilst at home? Will their efforts in being a constructive family member be evident during the holidays? Can they continue to show a Love of Learning when at home? Yes, your teachers want you to practise your reading! But what else can you learn this Christmas? How will you be a Leader this Christmas? Will you go out of your way to help others? And of course, I hope you all have time to Celebrate, to share the successes and achievements of which we are all so very proud.

I would like to leave you with a recent humble and uplifting news story. The headline reads: ‘Indian village schoolteacher wins $1 million global prize - and gives half to the runners-up’. Indeed, the winner of this year’s global teacher of the year prize - an award that is run by UNESCO – gave half of his winnings to the other nine finalists. Rather than keeping all his winnings, the winner Mr Disale said that he would share the prize with the other nine finalists, giving them $55,000 each, the first time anyone has done so in the award's six-year history. I am sure you can agree that Mr Disale has shown a level of kindness and humility that we can all aspire to. What would you do with a $1 million dollar prize? Could you show kindness to the degree of Mr Disale? Perhaps he saw an opportunity to help others less fortunate than him?

Students playing at Mount Kelly Hong Kong

Ultimately, this is why Christmas is important to me. Thinking of others. Giving to others. Helping those who are less fortunate. Sharing time with our loved ones and reflecting upon the values which drive us. Whether it’s a grand gesture of sharing your $1 million prize or bringing food donations into school to support our Feeding Hong Kong charity drive, we can all do our bit to help others. Now is the time to instil such virtues in our children so that they become kind, empathetic and responsible citizens as we prepare them for life beyond school.

I wish you all a safe and Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.

December 2020, written by Mr Dean Penney, Assistant Head at Mount Kelly Hong Kong

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