And we’re off!!!
September 11, 2020
The start to any school year is a pretty special thing. All that preparation, all the nervousness leading up to it. The questions from faculty and administrators: Will this actually work? Can we pull it off once again? Did we fix that problem the right way or plan for that initiative successfully? Will our students be happy and challenged? The questions from parents and guardians: Is my child going to thrive this year? At this school? Will they have friends? Will they grow and learn and be seen as that incredible child and person I know them to be? Will they learn and be inspired to learn? The questions from students: How am I going to be treated or welcomed by the other students? Is that class going to feel easy or hard? Will I get along with that teacher? Will they get to know me? Will I be able to be myself, seen for who I am, supported and encouraged to be me? Can I do all this work and learn all these things they want me to? Will I be able to do the things that I want to do? Will it be a great year, a lame year, an unforgettable year, a year of friendship, love, excitement, challenge? And on, and on, and on.
Starting the year with many questions is the right thing. For it’s not learning, it’s not scholarship, it’s not growth nor engagement if we’re not asking questions. If we’re not learning the right questions to ask, or how to ask them. Mindful inquiry is very much at the heart of learning, of teaching, of parenting. That being said, my wish for everyone today is that some big questions did, in fact, also get answered this week. Will the 2020-21 school year actually happen? Yes. A joyful “Yes!!” Will that school year have many of the familiar qualities that make learning at Vermont Commons School so unique and so positive? Yes! And will the community, which is the essential context in which our kind of learning takes place, rekindle itself and thrive through the addition and arrival of new members combined with old ones? Yes!
I hope that the simple reality of this week sinks in with all of us, which is that we not only can but also already have gotten back to our regular business of doing school. And I hope that brings all of us confidence such that we can start to envision, dream, and look forward to those things that make school years special at Vermont Commons, from a crisp fall movie night to experiential education outings to vibrant and animated classroom discussions and debates, to the perfect serve at a volleyball practice or a new cross country PR. Sure, it’s going to be a school year unlike any other, and isn’t that what we always strive for every year?
May the 2020-21 school year be extraordinary. For our students especially, may parts of it even be the times of their lives!