(Note: First posted in 2012.)
I made a disrespectful error last night and I am giving my apology. Last night was the first class of the season and was not only challenging for the students, but for us instructors as well.
In hindsight though, it went quite well considering our new electronics and a new room layout that required a lot of adjustments. However, in the last few minutes of class time, I made a comment to parents that had snuck into the back of the class, meant as a humorous, but polite reminder to the parents, that our classroom policies ask that parents not registered as students wait outside of the classroom until the students are dismissed. To any parent that may have found this comment offensive, I apologize. As we discussed in class, respect towards others is an overriding theme to ensure the future of shooting and hunting sports. A sportsperson’s disrespectfulness will affect the opinions of many more people than the expected, respectful attitude. It is far from my intention to be a bad example of a sportsman.
Our classroom is very similar to a classroom in a school. The purpose of the program is to provide an avenue for students to learn valuable knowledge, to practice what they are learning and to apply and perfect that education for the remainder of their lives. Each student will be introduced to a lot of information in a very short time period and every minute of class time has a purpose. As instructors, our goal is to present the information the students so they have the opportunity to learn, refine and retain. However, as a parent, I never had the opportunity to drop into any of my children’s’ public school classrooms just to observe. In fact, I believe most schools have a policy that requires a parent to register with the main office before being allowed in school during class time. In the realm of education, this rule makes sense; it limits the chances of unexpected disruptions so the learning atmosphere remains intact.
But there are some very distinct differences between firearms safety class and public school classes. Based on a very direct question made to the class, each student in the firearms safety class wants to be in the class. They want to learn about handling firearms safely. They want to learn how to be respectful to the environment, habitat, wild animals and other people. They want to learn the firearms and hunting rules so they can obey them. They want to be their generation’s ambassadors of firearms and wildlife. As parents, each of you should be very proud of your son or daughter for having this desire. As we discussed in class, there is a very large percentage of the population in the United States that is either anti-firearms or doesn't have an opinion. Your son or daughter wants to show this part of the population that sportspersons are dignified and respectful.
The Chaska VFW and Minnetonka Sportsmen Club allows us, without charge, to use their facilities. Additionally, we are volunteer instructors and dedicate countless hours to making your child’s firearms safety education entertaining, informative, relative and memorable. All the supplies used to accomplish this, the firearms, DVD’s, projector, cleaning pads and other props are our personal property. Our reward in intangible (read About Us by clicking on the link at the top of the website). This is our tenth year of providing classes for Chaska and the surrounding area and we hope to conintue for another ten years.
Our students expect respect from their instructors and we in turn expect them to respect our equipment and us. Together as a group, we ask the parents to respect the limited class time by waiting until the class is dismissed before coming into the classroom. If a parent independently has concerns about the class, or if your child expresses some apprehension about what has happened in class, all of the instructors are available before and after class. We want you to talk with us so that we can jointly overcome any problem and provide your son or daughter the opportunity they want to become safe and responsible sportspersons.