MS Head's Blog
In the Middle of It All
Middle School Musings by Trevor O’Driscoll, Bancroft's Head of Middle School
Most weeks, MS Head Trevor O’Driscoll writes a short note to parents and faculty about middle school, education, parenting, and other topics relevant to our community. We share these Middle School Musings here for the benefit and enjoyment of all who are interested. Read recent entries, browse the archives, and delight in Mr. O’Driscoll’s take on our Middle School and the amazing people who inhabit it.
Last Monday the world seemed brighter as the collective energy of our teachers burst onto the scene, and the excitement generated by the afternoon’s eclipse highlighted for me how special our teachers make this place.
I highly recommend seeing an eclipse with a bunch of teachers. Here’s why. The elaborate pinhole contraptions they had made were creative and effective. One resembled a submarine with a periscope, reminding me how humor and playfulness are ways our teachers make sticky memories. One brought a solar telescope, and another a welder’s mask, artifacts of particular passions and not merely props, symbolizing the deep and varied interests and experiences each teacher brings with them. Their level of expertise and understanding of the event led to plenty of aha moments for the kids who happened to be on campus, reminding me how curiosity can be contagious and how these adults are kid magnets. Finally, there was an esprit de corps among the faculty that was easy to spot, a quality that unites the group through all the ups and downs we experience as we live middle school with your children. While I was awed by the sun and moon, I was truly struck by the qualities I saw in the teachers around me.
While I watched teachers watching the sun, I thought of the list of qualities our Middle School faculty crafted not long ago. “A good middle school teacher…”
- Establishes a safe community in which risk-taking is valued
- Creates routines and consistent expectations while leveraging the power of surprise
- Demonstrates patience, flexibility, compassion, playfulness, and creativity
- Models and promotes a growth mindset by learning from failures, struggles, and successes
- Establishes and values meaningful connections with all students
- Balances inquiry and content while demonstrating relevance; keeps lessons interesting and engaging
When students have the chance to find deep and meaningful connections with a variety of people who share fundamental assertions like these, magic can happen. What I particularly value about Bancroft is the fact that every child can find someone to connect with among our caring team. I was talking with a parent the other day, who, when speaking of her daughter’s love of Bancroft Middle School and the teachers, asked rhetorically, “Who doesn’t love being around someone who cares about you?”
While it was incredibly energizing to have all faculty back on campus and experience the eclipse with such a curious, lively, and engaged group of adults, we all know it pales in comparison to what awaits us this Monday. We all can’t wait to see the kids we care about so much.
Welcome and welcome back to all new and returning families as we embark upon this school year together.
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