As we approach the end of September, students have navigated their first major assessments in their classes and have settled into a rhythm at Proctor. This week and into next, parents, advisors, dorm parents, coaches, and students will begin to receive the first Official Notes from classroom teachers reflecting on these first few weeks of class. The short, informative comments included in these notes provide insights to each student’s recent performance in class, but more importantly, serve as the foundation of an on-going narrative we use to engage students in reflection upon their own growth.
About a week from now, the 2017 Proctor Magazine will be arriving in mailboxes around the country. A theme woven throughout this year’s magazine centers on the necessity of building a strong foundation for each of our students. Understanding the complex lives of adolescents, the often conflicting priorities they feel (which is more important: sleep or studying?), and our role as adults helping them navigate the daily decisions they make are all critical to nurturing a vibrant learning community.
Day three of the Wilderness Orientation and pre-season sports camps and I can’t help but reflect on an article read earlier this morning in the New York Times: It’s 10P.M. Do You Know What Apps Your Children Are Using?For our students in the Pemi Wilderness on their Wilderness Orientation the question is easy to answer. Their App is an MSR stove, a fire, a chicken noodle Cup of Soup. Their connection is a connection of shared experiences standing under a rain fly waiting out a rain squall, sharing stories around a hot meal, collectively whooping when the sun peeks out. Theirs is a personal connection, the best kind of connection, the connections that cannot be replicated on line.
This past weekend, Proctor hosted its annual Alumni Reunion weekend as alumni from around the globe returned to campus to reconnect with their Proctor experience. For many of our older alumni, including the remarkable 22 members of the Class of 1967 who returned for their 50th reunion, campus looks much different than it did during their time on campus. Not only have Proctor’s physical footprint and programs evolved considerably since 1957, but so has enrollment from roughly 100 students (all boys) in 1957 to 370 students (boys and girls) from around the globe today.
I used to walk down the halls of my large public high school and hide. I was terrified of having a discussion with a teacher or administrator. I had always been a fairly shy person, but school had exacerbated this trait to a new level. As I got older, it began to influence my performance in school. I did not allow myself to have conversations about assignments, or ask questions about material covered in class.
Too often we fail to share gratitude for others at the time they directly impact our lives. Parents can certainly relate to this. When was the last time your child thanked you for driving them to the dentist or for buying and making dinner each night? Children and adults, alike, simply expect certain actions from others because the actions fall within that person’s job description or role. This habit of inadvertently taking others for granted is not a malicious one, but rather an unfortunate reality we all face as we rush through life.