It was a breakfast joint that will remain nameless, but I can still see the coffee maker over Matt’s shoulder, and the way the waiter slipped it easily off the hot plate and filled mugs, replenished hot water for tea, scribbled an order on a small pad of paper; scrambled eggs with jack cheese, corn, hash browns and cilantro. Heaped plates, a pile of fresh fruit, toast. The tables shouldered up against one another. The kitchen about the size of a generous baker’s table. It wasn’t an airy place, but it was a comfortable place, a good cafe, an excellent breakfast spot. It was the perfect classroom.
As a coach, momentum is either your best friend or your worst enemy. If it’s your team making a run, you hear fans cheering, watch as players dial in their focus, adrenaline rushing. If your team is on the unfortunate end of momentum, you pray for a referee’s call to go in your favor, search for any stoppage of play, and then desperately call a timeout in hopes of allowing your team to regroup.
Natural learning requires the transfer and construction of knowledge. Spend time with toddlers as they explore the world around them. They touch, feel, taste, form a hypothesis, test the hypothesis, evaluate their findings, and then explore again. Over the last two days, faculty have engaged in professional development conversations exploring the learning cycle and how we can deepen our own understanding of how to create classroom experiences that encourage students to ask questions and pursue understanding. How do we give our students the autonomy to act, to actively question the world around them? How do we pursue our best selves?
Ocean Classroom 2019 is complete, but the memories and friendships will carry on. While the crew of 21 Proctor students has now been home for just over a week, and will be welcomed by a fresh foot of snow on campus when they return Tuesday evening for the Winter Term, they will have these blog posts, Ship's Logs, and thousands of photos to bring them back to the Caribbean waters of Puerto Rico, St. John, and St. Croix. A big thank you to Ocean Classroom educators Matthew Ecklund, Claire Callahan, and Holly Buresh for capturing photos, student writing and video along the way.
Campus is quiet, for the moment. No bikes or skateboards or scooters zooming down pathways. No laughter or chatter as students pass between classes. No rushing off to our next class, meeting, assembly, or practice. Faculty have plenty of grading to do as we wrap up Fall Term assessments, but we take a collective deep breath this week as we celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends.
The power of Proctor’s academic model lies in both the breadth and depth of academic pursuits. A single student’s path through Proctor may take them on multiple off-campus programs, summer internships, AP courses, Project Periods, and a summer service trip. They will customize their journey by taking a minimum of three art courses and three technology courses in addition to English, Social Science, Science, Math, and World Language classes, all while benefiting from the nation’s leading integrated academic support program - Learning Skills. Despite over 135 course offerings, individual classes do not differentiate Proctor from other independent schools. Instead, the entirety of the Proctor experience, and the collective opportunities available to students, set us apart.
At the heart of Proctor’s educational model is the belief adolescents learn most deeply when they engage hands-on with their learning. Five years ago, Proctor launched a biannual Innovation Night to elevate the great work happening in our classrooms. Each fall and spring, we gather as a community to not only celebrate the work of our students, but to learn about the important issues they are wrestling with in their classes.
After more than ten days on the open ocean, Proctor's Ocean Classroom program aboard Schooner Roseway spotted land! While this post contains Ship's Logs that are now more than a week old, we are playing catch-up from the group's transit and will include one final blog post next Tuesday with the remainder of ship's logs from the journey as the group finishes out their term at sea with a final stop in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Friday, November 22.