The Why: Watching Our Students Grow

Posted by Scott Allenby

06/26/2019

For teachers, the rhythm of the calendar year is inextricably tied to the cycle of the academic calendar. Boarding school life amplifies those rhythms: when we are on, we are ON, and when we are off, we try to unplug and recharge. As we prepare to turn the calendar to July, we are still in the early phases of recharging, but cannot help but feel the emptiness of campus this time of year.

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The quiet is welcomed - for a while - but we teach so we can change lives, not so we can have summers “off”.  When there are no young lives around us to impact, we get antsy. We pursue our own passions and invest much needed time in our families, but a feeling deep down inside us can't wait to feel the energy of campus return in the fall. We wander onto Flickr and look back through photos from the year and marvel at what just transpired, at the growth that took place, the obstacles overcome, the relationships formed, and the confidence gained.

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With the passing of time, we have a tendency to create linear memories of nonlinear journeys. I would venture there is not a young person in a high school across the country whose path through adolescence was entirely smooth. If we are empowering our students to live life to their fullest, they are periodically failing. Taking a risk. Falling down. Picking themselves up and recalculating next steps. But over time, their trajectory of growth trends upward. 

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Witnessing this growth in our students is what keeps us hungry as educators, what fans our flames of hope when we are daily bombarded by despair from the world around us. Somehow, our students simultaneously exhaust us and energize us. It's a talent unique to teenagers, I suppose, one that inspires us to show up and be the best version of ourselves every single day. 

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Each spring, we watch the graduating class walk across the stage with proud tears in our eyes. We remember when each of these students first stepped into our lives, fear and uncertainty in their eyes. So much new, so much to overcome. And then hand-in-hand we walked them into the wilderness of high school. Their grip on our hands, on their parents hands, gradually loosened as they took steps forward into new experiences. The hurdles never disappeared, they never do in life, but the confidence with which our students learn to approach challenges is our by far our greatest measure of success. We are thankful for the opportunity to do this work, and are excited to begin the cycle again in a few short months! 

Click to read: Being a Wholehearted Educator!

    

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