School is for the struggle

October 20, 2023

None of us walks the same road. One of the chal­lenges of being in school is making friends, build­ing connec­tions, and real­iz­ing that we have to walk away from them all at one point. Teach­ers and parents/​guardians are tasked with helping our students learn to walk their own path. We guide them, we walk along­side them, and ulti­mately see them walk at their own pace and find their own desti­na­tion. We teach lessons, cele­brate chal­lenges, and support strug­gles along the way. 

A key part of the Waverly program is helping students see that they will make it on their own. Even­tu­ally. We are helping them under­stand when to ask ques­tions, when to listen, when to stand out, and when to play the wall. Each of these are impor­tant skills that every person must master to make their way.

It’s also essen­tial to see that we also can’t walk anyone else’s path, though ours may inter­sect and run paral­lel for some time. This was one of the hardest lessons for me to learn as a kid. I wanted to always be with my friends and to be included in every activ­ity or to feel that certain kids wanted me around. I also wanted to be good at math. I wasn’t. Kathy Repique, one of our high school math teach­ers, shared this article with me and it mirrored some of the chal­lenges previ­ous gener­a­tions expe­ri­enced along with the current added stress of tech­nol­ogy and smart­phones. It’s worth a read: Life at 13. The process of helping kids walk on their own is grounded in the reality that students need adults to listen to them and that they need to combine periods of activ­ity with periods of rest, reflec­tion, and creativity.

Mid-October is a time of tran­si­tion, when the novelty of school has worn off and it may seem like every­one else’s child is succeed­ing or achiev­ing some new goal and ours may strug­gle. School is for the strug­gle. School is for the chal­lenge and the growth. Skilled teach­ers work as guides that help students and parents find their own path. Each family will soon have a midterm confer­ence and this oppor­tu­nity is special in that it gives every­one a chance to see how effec­tive teach­ers are in promot­ing under­stand­ing and foster­ing student growth. 

In Commu­nity,

Clarke Weath­er­spoon

Head of School