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Balancing Wants and Needs for Adolescents

Scott Allenby

Our students’ passion for life not only gives us hope for the future, but energizes us in our work as educators. Witnessing a student unlock their potential reminds us that new life begins to spread its roots when we cannot see it and awaits the right time to blossom, even on these cold March days. 

As we work to create a school community that supports our students during these root-nourishing years, we find ourselves balancing that which our students want with that which we believe they need. 

Proctor Academy Community Students

Students want to disappear into their phones, but we know they need guidance, education, and a nudge toward human, not virtual, connection. Students want to feel comfortable, but we know powerful learning happens when they step into the discomfort of the unknown. Students want to surround themselves with their friend groups at all times, but we know shaking up the social setting of adolescents (like we do on Project Period and in advisory) is a powerful tool for individual and community growth. Students want to specialize in a specific sport, artistic pursuit, or discipline, but we know it is in the breadth of the Proctor experience that students expand their identity. 

Proctor Academy Community Students

When we live in a community, we see the best in each other, and yet are not afraid to address that which threatens the wellbeing of our community. We look each other in the eye as we pass on the pathway. We find those who are struggling to connect and make sure they feel known. And, occasionally we need to set aside student “wants” for what we believe are student “needs”. 

Proctor Academy Community Students

We believe firmly that, at Proctor, we have the opportunity to serve as an antidote to the messages of insufficiency and disconnectedness that permeate our students’ (and our own) lives. We have the opportunity to love others for who they are, not who society says they should be. We have the opportunity to see others for their potential, not the mistakes they have made. We have the opportunity to silence the distractions swirling around us by spending meaningful time with one another. We have the opportunity to reframe adolescent wants and needs around our mission. 

Proctor Academy Community Students

When we wake up each morning and do our best to connect with those around us, to be kind, to be brave, and to lift others up, and to push our students beyond their wants to what be believe they need, we will be well on our way to building a culture at Proctor that will sustain us and help our students become the best version of themselves. 

Read more about how we prioritize Community and Relationships at Proctor! 

  • Community and Relationships