校 長  楠野 宣孝

【English version】”Students’ Independence”

 During a lunch break in mid-May, four third-grade senior high school students came to the principal’s office. Until then, students had visited me here during their lunch breaks, but most of them had come to just enjoy talking with me. However, this time it seemed to me that these students were very serious.
 They told me that they wanted to do more volunteer work and asked me to tell them what to do. They wanted to more actively participate in volunteer activities, such as helping charities like the Japanese Red Cross Society, which they had done last year.
 In the past, volunteer activities at Shoin have mainly been carried out by the student council, the career guidance division, the nursing course, etc. I think this is a good opportunity to unify the volunteer activities students are involved in at Shoin and share them with the whole school.
 After making this proposal known to all teachers, three offered to assist and at first advised and helped organize the students. Then, they stopped giving them advice and left it to the students to work independently by themselves. At first, the four students were a little bit slow to act, but eventually they made posters and put them up on the walls of each of the classrooms so that they could start recruiting supporters.
 During the process, some supervising teachers came close to getting involved, however, ultimately they stood back patiently so that the students could learn to be independent. Currently, there are about 20 additional students working within this volunteer project, but I think from now on, the four original students who came to me will be working hardest. There are many things that need to be decided, such as what kind of specific actions should be taken, and how to appeal to and share their vision with the whole school.
 When the four students first came to me and talked about the importance of raising the profile of volunteer work at Shoin, they might have thought that teachers would give them more support and advice. However, with time, they have come to understand that they themselves should take this initiative. This is a really eye-opening experience and a big step in terms of growth for them.
 In the second term, a number of large school events, like the sports and cultural festivals will be held. All students are supposed to work hard on their assigned tasks, but often they tend to be over-reliant on their teachers. Like the four students who came to see me about volunteer work, I hope that all students at Shoin will learn to think, be creative, and persevere in order to make each of these large-scale events successful. In order to help them achieve these goals, patience and measured guidance by all teachers are of utmost importance.

Principal Nobutaka Kusuno