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.
Head of School