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Academic Lens: Time to Reflect
The end of the school year is within sight: four more academic days this week followed by four days of final exams and projects. Senior projects are winding down in preparation for next Thursday’s final exhibits. School leaders, Carl Liu and Alex Van Raalte, have been elected for next year. Dorm leaders have been selected and athletic teams have only a few more practices left before the end of the season.
Juniors are poised to become seniors. Sophomores are on the cusp of becoming juniors and ninth graders are no longer ‘new’ to the school. At different points in time, the school year has felt as though it is crawling by (for most of the month of February to be exact), but at other moments it seems like a blur. Last spring I wrote a similar blog post about needing to take time to reflect on personal growth. Today, I hope we are able to do the same. The video below interviews ninth graders and their perceptions of their own growth this year. It is powerful.
Looking back at the images in this post from the first weeks of the school year, ninth graders have certainly undergone physical growth that is noticeable. However what is most impressive is the intangible academic and emotional development. This has become THEIR school. They take pride in Proctor, and that is exciting.
For seniors, their evolution as students at Proctor is at a very different stage than their ninth grade counterparts. Our goal as educators is not to create an environment where our students want to stay forever, but to give them the academic, athletic, social and emotional training to prepare them for their next adventure. As seniors enter their final trimester at Proctor, they should be ready to spread their wings. We must be conscious that we are encouraging them to do so.
I consistently tell my graduating advisees, “If you aren’t feeling ready to move on from Proctor at this point in the year, we’ve done something wrong.” Just as great leaders eventually make themselves obsolete by empowering those around them, we must do the same for our soon-to-be graduates. It is not that we, as educators, become less valuable to our students as they approach graduation, our role simply changes. And that’s ok.
Located in Andover, NH, Proctor Academy is a private coeducational day and boarding school for grades 9–12. Students benefit from a rigorous academic program, experiential off-campus programs, fine and performing arts, competitive athletics, and a wide selection of extracurricular activities.