August is knocking on the door. Tomorrow we will have to answer. And we all know that when August arrives, our focus shifts to the start of the school year: advisor letters, roommate assignments for new students, start of year faculty meetings, Wilderness Orientation prep, firming up syllabi. We cling to the hot, humid days of July, anticipating the busyness and energy that accompanies each new school year.
Each fall and spring, students have the opportunity to showcase projects from classes across disciplines at Proctor’s Innovation Night. Now in its fifth iteration, the event has become an embedded part of our academic calendar and serves as a celebration and culmination of the hard work our students have been doing all term. Academic Dean Derek Nussbaum-Wagler reflected, “It provides a unique opportunity to demonstrate the rich, valuable work that they have produced through our experiential learning opportunities”.
Monday's assembly marked the beginning of the end of the 2017-2018 school year as academic departments presented underclass awards. As Head of School Mike Henriques mentioned in his opening comments of the assembly, our students have invested incredible effort and energy into their academic pursuits at Proctor this year. While we wish we could publicly acknowledge each of our student's individual growth, today's awards assembly recognized a handful of students whose performance and effort stands out as truly excellent. Congratulations to each of this year's underclass award winners listed below!
I’m a planner; always have been, and despite the constant encouragement of colleagues to embrace spontaneity, probably always will be. I like to know ahead of time what is on the day’s agenda (and may or may not have a compulsion to lay my clothes out for the following day each night before falling asleep). It’s, as chemistry teacher Ian Hamlet says, “Just how my operating system works.” As such, Sunday evenings are spent looking at the week ahead and planning what Proctor narratives will emerge given scheduled events. Off-campus program blogs, Mike’s Notes, Team Spotlights, guest posts by faculty or staff all laid out in a nice orderly fashion so our team can see what gaps may exist as we try to help share the Proctor story with others.
Teaching can be a seriously humbling life. I can’t speak for other teachers as to why they started teaching but I assume inspiring students fits somewhere on the list for many of us. I’d love to think of myself leading the charge for my students as they learn about the world and find a path that inspires them. Many schools espouse the idea that we need to be learning for the world beyond the classroom; that part isn’t something that is unique to Proctor. The difference for us is that we have built a school that doesn’t only talk about it but makes it happen and has made it the norm for our students.
Often, when difficult issues arise and injustice brushes our lives in the most personal of ways, we feel empowered to speak our minds. Finding the right medium to be heard is as much a challenge as finding the words to speak. Our responsibility as adults in this learning community called Proctor is to both model and encourage respectful dialogue that challenges the status quo while not compromising the integrity of our relationships with others within the community.
Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Student leadership sold Candy-Grams during lunch today and will place them in mailboxes tomorrow morning. We anticipate the normal adolescent flirting to tick up just a bit on this day of love, and there will probably be at least a few deliveries of flowers by secret admirers before the end of the day tomorrow. This post may have been triggered by Valentine's Day, but the focus is far from the Hallmark holiday before us. Instead, I want to dig into an aspect of “love” that I believe every school should nurture with more intentionality. So bear with me as we take a circuitous route through Valentine’s Day, hugs, love, academics, and institutional evolution.
Every day, Proctor students are called to indulge in their curiosities, challenge themselves, and try something new. This same ‘trying something new’ mantra has guided the World Languages Department over the past few years as instructors have been experimenting with different pedagogical approaches to classroom structure. As Ross, Ale, Erik, Jon and Scott discover creative ways to teach timeless lessons, we are reminded that a culture of learning is hinged on educational exploration for all community members, where individuals evolve with each passing season.