Monthly Archives: September 2013

Our Own Greatest Teachers

Several years ago, a friend of mine who had just had her first child asked me what I had done to help my son grow up to be as strong, kind, grounded, and self-confident as he is. Her concerned look told me how desperately she wanted the same for her own son. My quick response, that my secret to raising my son so well had been for my wife to be his mother, was not given entirely out of modesty or humility (for one thing, my wife is truly one of the most extraordinary parents I’ve ever known). By, in a sense, deliberately avoiding the question, I meant to create space for her to discover the mother she was meant to be. We did have a longer, more heartfelt conversation later on, but ultimately she found the secret on her own: her child was not my child, her family was not my family, and she had to find her own way as a parent to this unique human being and as a member of her own unique family.

Part of our school’s mission is to enable all our students to be their own best selves. As obvious as this goal might be, and as fundamentally important, it is not easily achieved. Recently, Erin L., a seventh grader, wrote the following in an essay:

Is my personality a chance, or am I who I was meant to be?

I am shy and quiet. I have always been… I found that I was comfortable in my routine of school and home, in a small circle of people I knew, but in sixth grade, my shell of comfort was shattered, like a broken snow globe. Facing interviews, and new teachers, I tried to embrace my final year of comfort, and then began work on one of the hardest things I will ever have to do… I began working on banishing shyness. Timidity and innocence are strong protective walls, but as well as walls keep out, they also block in…

As I struggle to break the walls, I am learning more than self-confidence. I am learning how to learn from mistakes, I am learning how to embrace change. I am learning what it feels like to step into a spotlight, and glow underneath the light. So perhaps I was given my personality to teach me, because, I think perhaps we are our own greatest teachers, if we simply have the patience to learn.

No, my personality was not a chance. Something thought me out very well, or maybe it was an unconscious decision on my part. To be who I am to become, may not be easy. But it is my choice.

I suspect I am not alone in wishing I had been that wise at her age. For that matter, even now, at 53, I feel I am still discovering myself – making conscious and unconscious decisions, trying to have the patience to learn and to be my own greatest teacher, shaping my presence in the world so that people might perceive me as I perceive myself. Even after 40 or more years of trying to be who I am to become, I’m not 100% certain I’ve entirely achieved that. But I still have time. We all do.

As the Upper School Rock Band was gathering the other night, several of the students were spinning and bouncing around the room and talking about the character of our school: “We’re all quirky.” “We’re all different.” “We’re all… artistic.” “Everybody accepts everybody else.” “There wasn’t really a place for people like me at my old school.” “It’s almost,” I said with a hint of laughter in my voice as I feigned surprise and a sudden discovery, “as if this school was all about finding out who you were meant to be and becoming that person – becoming your own best self. And that it’s working.” The girls all smiled, and one danced a little half step to her right. “Exactly.” one of them said with a confident nod of her head as she took a firm step forward.


Filed under In the Classroom, On Education, On Parenting, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, The Girls School Advantage, Uniquely Stoneleigh-Burnham School

Feminist Dress Code

During the course of the summer, as a frequent Twitter user, I read innumerable posts on girls and women, what they wear, what it means, and what it ought to mean. A number of websites specifically questioned school dress codes, claiming they were belittling to girls – and, for that matter, boys – in the assumptions underlying restrictions on clothing for girls. Those assumptions might include the motivations of girls for making certain choices, the reactions of boys to those choices, and where the responsibility lies in that interplay. Culture plays a role in those assumptions, of course, but in general the majority of people in our society tend to associate revealing clothing with deliberate sexualization, assume that boys will be distracted in those cases, and ascribe responsibility to girls for their original clothing choices.

There’s no question that the sexualization of young girls is a legitimate issue in our society. For one thing, society in general and the media in particular (see Teen Vogue for example) relentlessly focus teenage girls on how they look, to the point that (as we discussed in the 2012-2013 Humanities 7 class) girls often, horrifyingly, envision themselves not from within but rather from a third-person perspective. At no point should girls buy into or otherwise accept being objectified.

That said, there are at least three potential problems with judging clothing based on the perceived degree of sexualization. One is that it makes an assumption about the intent of the wearer that may or not be true. Another is that it ascribes the right to judge girls’ and women’s bodies to people other than themselves. A third is the difficulty in finding a way to encourage girls not to objectify themselves without stigmatizing them in the process.

Making the assumption that boys would be distracted by what girls are wearing also carries a number of problems. First, of course, is the underlying heteronormative assumption. Not all boys are attracted to girls, and not only boys are attracted to girls. Secondly, there’s the assumption that people are initially attracted to other people by their appearance; for some people, attraction is based more on personality and less on looks. Thirdly, there’s the underlying assumption that people are necessarily attracted to other people; asexual people may not be a large percentage of the population, but they do exist. And fourthly, there’s the untenable assumption that boys would be unable to properly set their priorities.

Even if there are boys who are distracted by what girls are wearing, the argument that it is then incumbent on the girls to wear something different is completely missing the point. It is the exact equivalent of blaming the victim. As Katie J. M. Baker succinctly put it at Jezebel (standard warning of strong images and language to those who follow any Jezebel link), “teaching teenagers that girls shouldn’t wear certain clothes if they don’t want to distract or tempt boys is just like telling women to avoid dressing like sluts if they don’t want to be raped.”

So we know some assumptions a school dress code should not be making. Yet, as some of the middle school students have said down through the years whenever our school’s dress code comes up in discussion, the school is essentially their workplace. Some sort of dress code, most of them agree, makes sense. But what form should it then take?

The students who have talked to me about their ideals generally use words like “neat” and “respectful.” That seems to make sense, and you see these principles reflected in the opening statement to our dress code, written by a student-faculty committee: “In general, students are expected to take pride in their appearance and be dressed for the academic day (7:55 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.) in appropriate attire that fits properly and shows a modesty befitting the class day.” So far, so good. The trick is agreeing on what it means to take pride in your appearance and what it means to be dressed for the academic day.

Over the seven years since we installed this dress code, the four main bones of contention have been: height of heels, graphics on t-shirts, hoods, and the exact width of straps on tops or dresses (the current standard is three fingers). When we next revise the dress code, which may be this year as it came up in the first Student Council discussion, the people who make up that committee will need to deal with these kinds of questions, among others:

      At what point in time does a heel become so high it is medically unhealthy to wear a particular pair of shoes, and is that the appropriate standard for our school to set?


      Can and should we agree on what graphics would be considered appropriate if we were to once again allow them on t-shirts?


      Could and would it work to allow hoods as long as they are not pulled up during the academic day?


      How do we best balance the need for comfort in extremely hot and humid weather with the concept of “modesty befitting the class day”?


    And what about the concept of “modesty” in general?

More deeply, we need to look at how we support students in making clothing choices that balance the need to express their authentic selves with an awareness of how they are perceived without either shaming them or inadvertently reinforcing society’s and the media’s tendency to judge and to overly focus girls and women on their appearance. With careful thought and consideration, then, we should be able to come up with what might be called a feminist dress code.

That is, we should be able to do so if indeed the concepts of “feminist” and “dress code” can even co-exist, as a member of the “Toward the Stars” community pointed out this summer on Facebook.

No dress code will fully satisfy all members of any given community, of course – including the absence of a dress code. But coming to grips with the notion of a feminist dress code? That would be an achievement worth striving for.

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Filed under On Education, Women in media

Truly Courageous Educators (part 1)

Recently, Robert Pondiscio, an online friend of mine, posted a link on Facebook to an article published by Alfie Kohn entitled “Encouraging Courage.” In the article, Mr. Kohn argues that “There is already enough [education research] to help us decide what to do (or stop doing) on many critical issues,” that “there are plenty of examples of outstanding classrooms and schools in which that research is being put into practice” but that “What’s lacking is sufficient courage for those examples to be widely followed.” Mr. Kohn continued on to challenge educators to question traditional practices that interfere with learning, take responsibility for their personal role in the process of education, and share power with students. A lively discussion ensued on the page and, as a progressive educator, I found myself moved to write a more lengthy response. Three of the prime concerns expressed during the discussion were the roles of factual knowledge and homework in the classroom, and what (if anything) progressive educators want students to be able to do upon graduation.

Let’s start with the question about what goals progressive educators have for their students, and work backwards. Research tells us “that various ‘enhanced’ forms of discovery learning work best of all.” (Kohn) So how do I, as a progressive educator, try to put that into practice? Essentially, I determine the fundamental, non-negotiable parameters for a course and then turn the students loose to explore within those parameters, talking and conferring with them all along the way. Both the non-negotiable parameters and the individual student exploration help them learn the kinds of things I want them to learn – in short, to meet my goals.

In my Humanities 7 class, for example, I take it as a given that my students should be developing their non-fiction writing skills. They need to know how to develop a question that genuinely interests them and will enable them to think deeply and produce work that reflects that. They need to know how to locate information, determine its reliability and relevance, record and organize it effectively, and take all necessary steps to meet standards of academic honesty. They need to know how to engage a reader, provide necessary background information, and develop and clearly state a thesis. They need to be able to write clear body paragraphs that are organized around a central idea that is connected to and supports the thesis, and progress smoothly and logically from idea to idea. They need to be able to quickly summarize their main points and extend those into a deeper reflection of why what they have written matters deeply to them and should also matter to us. They need to have a sense of their writing style, how it matches their audience, and what makes it “artistic” as one seventh grader said on Monday. They need to know what tools can help them at all the different stages of this process. And bear in mind that all these are just “non-fiction writing skills,” less than half of the total number of skills which I am asking my students to develop. All those are non-negotiable givens which I’ve chosen carefully based on what research tells me and on my experience in working with past students, talking with teachers they’ve had in subsequent years, talking with their parents, and most importantly talking with them.

So that makes up a long list of what they need to learn. Where’s the space for what they want to learn? You may already have identified it: it’s in the content. Cognitive learning theory tells me that factual knowledge is necessary to construct meaning and that learning happens when new knowledge is assimilated into an existing body of knowledge. Cognitive learning theory is, however, mute on the question of what that knowledge ought to be. This is where my students’ personal interests and passions come into play. Each year, my Humanities 7 students have no trouble whatsoever identifying areas they want to explore. Each year, we develop a common body of knowledge with a given unit while the students explore individually their own personally designed focus questions. Each year, at the end of the unit, we listen to what each member has learned and integrate that knowledge with what each of us already knows. If there are 14 students in the class plus me, we will leave the unit with 15 unique and yet overlapping bodies of knowledge. We will have learned content while developing skills.

All of this is part of the intellectual development I wish for my students. But research also tells me that intellectual development is best supported when we also focus attention on other axes of development: artistic, physical, and social. I want them to have a sense of aesthetics – not just what is beauty, but if and why beauty matters, how decisions are made about what is beautiful, why sometimes beauty might deliberately be eschewed for specific reasons. I want them to be physically strong, to have a sense of what their bodies can accomplish and how to enable that to happen. I want them to be emotionally strong, to have a sense of who they are and how they fit into the world, to have a sense of how to see the world from multiple perspectives, to be able to work effectively with other people. I know that if I neglect any of these axes of development to concentrate on another area, in the end, it will harm my students more than hurt them. And I would do just about anything to avoid hurting my students.

Would Alfie Kohn agree with all this? Honestly, I haven’t yet been able to find a clear manifesto along these lines in his work (please tell me if you find one!), but I can extrapolate from this fragment of his writing: “(…) It’s most important for students to become critical thinkers, enthusiastic learners, ethical decision-makers, or generous and responsible members of a democratic community.” (Kohn) Those basic principles are certainly compatible with the basic principles I’ve enunciated above.

Having talked about what goals a progressive educator might have for students, and how to go about meeting those, the next steps will be to look at some additional research, to see how successful schools are putting these ideals into practice, and to explore the notion of why more schools don’t follow those examples. In the process, we’ll examine the intersections of traditional and progressive methods and think about how each individual school (including mine) might choose to handle them. Keep an eye on this site!

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Filed under In the Classroom, On Education

“Please join the faculty…” (part 1)

This was the title of a post in the Senior IB candidates’ blog for their Theory of Knowledge class. Their teacher, Alex Bogel, linked them to an article by Marc Prensky entitled “Our Brains Extended” which the faculty was reading over the summer. In the article, Mr. Prensky makes the point that “Technology… is an extension of our brains; it’s a new way of thinking.” He then poses the question, “Now that kids are routinely exposed to increasingly sophisticated information online, what’s an ‘age-appropriate’ curriculum? What subject matter from the past is still relevant, and for whom?” Finally, he suggests a vision for completely revamping the curriculum in our nation’s schools. He proposes organizing learning around four themes: effective thinking, effective action, effective relationships, and effective accomplishment. (Interestingly, these four themes integrate well with the fundamental philosophy of the IB curriculum, for example through the Creativity-Action-Service, or CAS, requirement.)

The students brought a wealth of knowledge and insight in their responses to Mr. Bogel’s posting. Here are six extracts from their work that, when juxtaposed, tell an interesting story of the students’ own visions for the role and potential influence of technology in their education.

I agree with the article about how [technology] is an extension of our lives it almost makes us super human. I also agree that we need to teach older and younger people that technology is great, but I don’t know if it is the BEST way because even though I may not love to read it is important to teach and be able to use. [Technology] is not the number one skill students need to take from school in order to succeed. Reading is the root of everything. – Jillian

I agreed with certain parts of the “Rethinking the Curriculum” section and linked the mathematics section with something my dad always told me. My dad always tells that real math is what goes on before we put our pencils on the paper. Real math is when you look at a problem and you figure out exactly what to do in order to solve it. Determining the numbers and values is just arithmetic. Math isn’t beautiful because we can add and subtract numbers; the numbers are just the tools we use to express mathematical ideas. – Karen

I really like the Effective Thinking, Acting and Relationships. In many ways this is what is happening at SBS, especially the effective thinking. I think that there is opportunity for the action and relationship aspects but they are not as out right or obvious to someone who is not aware of them. I think that these would enhance the SBS curriculum because they would make SBS an even more culturally aware and active school. Setting up programs with other schools around the world would make way for a new type of communication and connects for students and knowledge. – Elizabeth

I think our school should consider combining classes with teachers from around the world. I believe we need to move forward and make the future generations feel as though they are people of the world and not separated by distinctions. To create more global citizens, transnational cooperation is necessary. – Dorjee

I agree that the curriculum needs to be changed fundamentally, but I do not think that Marc Prensky’s emphasis on technology is as important as he made it seem. Technology definitely touches every aspect of our lives, but I think there must also be emphasis on learning through other outlets like music, art and nature. I have seen and experienced firsthand how technology can consume our thoughts and actually disconnect us from the people around us; so to put more emphasis on technology in schools we must first change the ways we use technology. The powerful connections that technology permits students like global communication must be treated more seriously if integrated into the curriculum. – Jane

Prensky’s curriculum suggestion seems like the most hard-to-apply concept in the article, mainly because it would involve an overhaul of the education system, and the agreement of town councilors everywhere on the fact that this is where our society is headed. If it’s a hard concept for me, a technology-addicted 17 year old to swallow, then you can bet that our current traditional education model isn’t going anywhere any time soon. – Caroline

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Filed under In the Classroom, International Baccalaureate

Living The Kite Runner

Standing in line for food during Formal Dinner last week, I was approached by a new student, “S.” ’14 (her name has been withheld to protect her anonymity), whom I’d only known from house parenting duties. She told me, in her quiet manner, that my 11th graders’ English summer reading book, The Kite Runner, is her favorite novel. She continued by telling me that she is a Hazara, of the same tribe as Hassan, one of the significant characters in The Kite Runner, and that she has experienced similar discrimination growing up in Afghanistan as he has in the novel. As IB learners I thought that the girls would benefit from meeting “S.” and hearing her story, as it relates to The Kite Runner, and I asked her if she would be interested in talking to both of my classes. “S.” graciously, and without any hesitation, accepted my invitation.

“S.” had prepared a Power Point presentation in advance and she began by giving us a brief history of Afghanistan and telling us about her family. She then proceeded by relating her experiences growing up in Afghanistan to The Kite Runner. The thing that struck me the most was that “S.” at such a young age was able to talk about her difficult experiences with such clarity and in such an unblemished manner. She has already gained perspective and made sense of her country’s violent history and the effect it has had, and still has, on her family and her people. “S.” has decided not to let her experience bring her down; instead she has been able to turn it into something positive. She told the class about her volunteer work at the same orphanage in which one of the characters in The Kite Runner grew up. She and her sisters have had the rare opportunity to pursue an education and “S.” is a courageous and passionate advocate for girls’ education and women’s rights. At a very young age she has her goals set and is determined to make a change in the world.

At the end of the presentation the girls were able to ask questions and it was very clear they had been deeply affected, and touched, by “S.’s” story. The girls were very curious to know more about the history of Afghanistan, “S.’s” family, her take on The Kite Runner, and her goals. The questions asked were thoughtful and intelligent and helped the girls put the novel into a clearer context. With the start of this school year the 11th graders are embarking upon the great journey that is the IB and I truly think, based on today’s classes, that these girls are going to do very well. Thank you, “S.”, for being a role model and pushing the girls off onto the great seas of IB and giving them a taste of what this wonderful program is all about.


Tutu Heinonen

11th Grade English Teacher


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Filed under In the Classroom, The Faculty Perspective, Uniquely Stoneleigh-Burnham School

Gender-Coloured Glasses

I work hard to listen carefully to my students. It shows respect for them and respect for girls’ voices, it gives me a chance to learn from and about them, and it gives me the chance to be a role model to them. Yet I confess, on occasion, I do deliberately interrupt them. One such occasion is when they say “We all think…” and I will interrupt to ask who “we all” is and how they know “we all” think that way. They rephrase, “My two friends here and I think…” and I go back into active listening mode. One of the highlights of the 2009-2010 Humanities 7 class was one February when a student said, “Most of us think…” and then looked at me slyly and said, “Did you notice I said ‘most of us’? (I smiled and nodded) See? I have been listening to you!”

My impatience with generalizations goes back a long way and runs deep. I remember taking my son (now 19) to play groups when he was three and listening to the other parents there (all moms). And I noticed there was a world of difference in how I reacted to statements like “Men don’t help with child care” vs. “Far too often, women still end up spending more time caring for children then men do.” The underlying sentiments are substantially similar. But one phrasing sits as an immutable pronouncement from on high which renders invisible an entire subset of a group of people, while the other expresses a general tendency even as it acknowledges variance.

Recently, one of my online friends shared a Christina Hoff Sommers article with me entitled “How to Make School Better for Boys.” The article intrigued me as father to a son even as it put me on my guard as a gender activist and girls school educator. Ms. Sommers didn’t disappoint on both counts, from one perspective pointing out the genuinely disturbing statistic that “Women in the United States now earn 62 percent of associate’s degrees, 57 percent of bachelor’s degrees, 60 percent of master’s degrees, and 52 percent of doctorates.” Yet, in painting a picture of college admissions officers increasingly desperate to recruit men, she writes that “Officials at schools at or near the tipping point… are helplessly watching as their campuses become like retirement villages, with a surfeit of women competing for a handful of surviving men,” a statement that is deeply disturbing on a whole different level. And she completely dismisses the reality of a stubbornly persisting gender wage gap (for one example, men earn significantly more than women right out of college) by stating, “Even those who acknowledge that boys are losing in school argue that they’re winning in life. But the facts are otherwise.” I have no doubt that we need to take a hard look at how many schools are doing many boys a disservice. But I also have no doubt that broad generalizations that overstate her case and misrepresent those with differing perspectives are not helping.

The 2007-2008 Humanities 7 class entered our school at the tipping point between the perception that boys did better at school than girls and the perception that the opposite was true. Intrigued by newspaper headlines at the time, they designed a unit whose theme question was, “Are girls smarter than boys?” and engaged in research involving a number of other middle schools. Their findings – neither girls nor boys are inherently smarter, but it is more socially acceptable for girls to do well in school – both mirrored what would come to be the consensus explanation for the phenomenon and presaged an ever-increasing gender gap in schools.

The key phrase here is “in schools.” The achievement gap between boys and girls has widened in the last six years, and we are indeed at the point where many colleges are struggling to recruit men. That is unquestionably a concern. Yet, the existence of what Rachel Simmons calls “The Curse of the Good Girl” is unquestionably one of the factors in this phenomenon, and it shows girls are no better served by the current situation than boys.

What does this mean to us as students, teachers, parents, and alumnae/i of a girls school? I believe it means committing to the mission of our school, allowing and encouraging our students to develop their authentic selves and voices free of gender boxes and stereotypes (including those that Curse them), allowing and encouraging the same of ourselves. I believe it means encouraging all schools to reflect our mission with their own populations. I also believe it means working toward a society that will also recognize and react to who people actually are than whom they are perceived to be. And finally, I believe it means understanding that institutionalized patriarchy is not going anywhere anytime soon, and that hurts all our children – girls, boys, and also the often invisible population of people who do not identify according to the traditional gender binary.

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Filed under Gender, In the Classroom, On Education, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School

Keep a Questing Mind

by Shawn Durrett, Dean of Faculty


At convocation on the first day of classes, senior Caroline Lord delivered a rousing speech encouraging her fellow students to “keep a questing mind” (thank you Caroline, for my new mantra for the year – I will quote you frequently and fervently). One of the great joys of being an English teacher is planning curriculum and thinking about ways to engage my students and inspire their curiosity, just as Caroline talked about.

When I plan a new course or unit, I often start by creating a thematic thread, knowing that I want my students to weave and tangle and unweave it throughout the term – in other words, to keep a questing mind as we work our way through the material, comparing and contrasting and building on and from the various texts and assignments. One of the most important skills we teach in an English classroom is how to recognize patterns: a recurrent image in a novel, words in an essay that create links back to the thesis, grammatical structure in a sentence. Basing a unit on shared themes is one such way to help students learn to recognize and appreciate these kinds of patterns and echoes.

This year I’m teaching a new-to-me 10th grade honors English class titled “Finding Identity.” Fellow 10th grade English teacher Tutu Heinonen and I decided we wanted the fall unit to focus on ideas about identity, gender, class, and society, with selected readings that pair nicely with our summer reading book, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. We’ll read Henry James’ novella Daisy Miller (looking again at ideas of gender, class, and social manners in the 19th century but through a different lens- a male perspective). Then we’ll end the term with Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible, focusing on judgment and prejudice in the extreme; how it can break down and destroy a community. I’ll add in some poetry and other short readings as time allows.

I wanted to get my students thinking right away about some of the ideas and themes we’ll explore this fall. I began by scattering dozens of images of women on one of the tables in our classroom, and then invited students to circulate the table and look. The reality is, I told them, we live in a world that is saturated with images of women and ideas about what it means or should mean to be one. We started with a simple question: What do you see? Women. From all different cultures. Doing things. Posing. Working. Parenting.


Then I asked them to choose a pair of images that sparked their interest, perhaps because they expressed a certain idea or emotion or seemed to contrast each other in an interesting way. Here are some of their pairings and thoughts:


Images of marriage, images of cultural rituals


“Here’s what you would see in National Geographic, and here’s what you would see in Vogue.” (In other words, image vs reality)


Artificial vs natural


Images of strength (I am so proud that my students identify Malala Yousafzai as an image of strength!)


Images of motherhood, perfection vs reality

Next, I explained that the readings for fall trimester focus on issues related to gender roles, class, and society, and asked if they were interested in these topics. The group of girls in this particular class is incredibly savvy, and like most young women of their generation, multi-faceted. They can speak with equal enthusiasm and authority on Malala Yousafzai as an advocate for social change in the world and on the power of Katniss to inspire a generation of readers. They are self-proclaimed “Jane Austenites” (to be fair, at least one student in my class hates Jane Austen) but they also love reading fantasy fiction. They not only know about the recent Miley Cyrus debacle on the Video Music Awards but they are outraged that Robin Thicke isn’t bearing more backlash for outright objectification and degradation of women in his songs and performances. They are critical consumers of media, and also sharply funny (best comment from the first day of class: Pride and Prejudice is like the Gossip Girl of the 19th century). Yes, they assured me eagerly, they are interested in these topics. Good.

So after our brainstorming about images and depictions of women, I sent the students off with their first reflective writing assignment. They turned in their responses on the second day of class, beginning a discussion that revealed a myriad of responses and emotions about what it means to be a woman in our modern world- outrage, confusion, skepticism, shame, joy, and pride, among others. They have a pretty mundane task for day three of class – study for a test on the summer reading- but then we’ll pick back up with our discussion and start linking and contrasting Pride and Prejudice and Daisy Miller.

The beginning of a new term is filled with nervous excitement, not just for the students, worrying about their first test, but for me as their teacher, wanting to immediately ignite their curiosity for the work that lies ahead. There’s an art to this; you can’t force students to be curious, but you start by providing the opportunity for curiosity to take root. Thank you Caroline, for opening our school year by inspiring both students and teachers to keep a questing mind. The coolest part about any quest, of course, is that you don’t know exactly where it will take you. I’m excited to venture out with my students.

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