Professional Development days at Proctor look little like they might for a public school faculty simply because the spectrum of responsibilities extends well beyond the classroom. For most teaching faculty, time in the classroom represents only half of their job as they are also advisors, coaches, and dorm parents. Within all of these roles, our core responsibility remains focused on our mission of valuing the individual and recognizing the potential of each member of our community to stretch beyond what they had thought possible.
Our professional development work began Monday with interdepartmental conversations around grading and assessment, followed by a deep dive in each academic department discussing how we can best support and challenge students through consistency of expectations. Subsequent meetings gathered all coaches together to continue our work focused on performance and mindset during competition, followed by Student Experience meetings on Tuesday. A theme emerged as we worked together to gear up for the Winter Term: in order to best deliver on our mission, we must make sure each student is loved, has a sense of belonging, and feels valued.
During Monday’s conversation with coaches, we challenged each other to think critically about our intentions for our teams. Intentions must be rooted in that which we can control, not that which is outside our control. Often, as a coach, we can become frustrated with that which is outside our control. We are too quick to blame others - referees, players, opponents, fans - when instead we must look inwardly at our own body language, demeanor, and mindset, and how we contribute to the overall environment our teams experience.
We simultaneously must hold intentions for this community. While we cannot control someone else’s mindset or behavior, we can control how we stand next to them. We must be aware of how our energy, our approach, our care for others -- on our teams, in our classes, in our dorms, in our advisories -- impacts those around us.
Ultimately, we have far more control over our contribution to this community than we think. We have the opportunity to choose how we lift others up - quietly, subtly, with dignity - and it is in this lifting of others that we not only move toward our intentions, but provide an example for others to follow. Our hope during this darkest month is that our individual lights, and in turn our collective light, will shine brightly both within this community and beyond.