To help encourage conversations and dialogue about 'good interruptions', this week's topic/question for the dinner table is: Share an experience you have had recently that at first felt like an interruption, but upon reflection held great meaning for you. Please see link to Google Form to share your responses: Good Interruptions (5/29/16) (This is an anonymous Google Form)
Hopefully the long weekend gave everyone some time to relax and spend time with family and friends. After being away with our 8th graders it was wonderful to spend time with Katie and the kids, although it took some time to get out of the 'tired fog' I was in Saturday morning - between Owen's soccer games on Saturday morning, I fell asleep on the sidelines! On Monday we enjoyed Holliston's Memorial Day parade and were able to sneak in a family barbecue.
The week with our 8th graders in Washington, D.C. was terrific - it is always so wonderful to share this experience with students and staff as they grow and learn over the four days. One of my greatest joys during the week is to observe new relationships develop between students and staff as they are given the opportunity to see one another in a very different setting. I want to sincerely thank and commend all of our chaperones for their care and support for the students on the trip: Cynthia McClelland, Jillian Shaw, Tracy Allen, Eileen Hurley, Matt Millard, Cori Jacomme, Kayla Armstrong, Ann Marie Fratolillo, Francine Kelly, Diana Mileszko, Seth Hellerstein, Susan Cowell, Kristin Buley, Loren Gonser, Tina Henry, and Susan Bycoff. A special thanks goes to Tricia Williams and Loren Gonser for all of their work to provide and assure a safe and healthy experience for both students and staff - we are so fortunate! And, a big thanks to Debbie Avery for all of her help planning and coordinating the trip! It is always a joy taking our students outside of Blake, as our students receive commendations and words of admiration from adults and tour guides for their maturity, respect, and character.
As shared last week I always experience feelings of anxiety and nerves before embarking on the trip to D.C. - finalizing the itinerary, making sure things are in place, hoping for weather that cooperates, trying to put aside the ever-growing list of things 'to do', etc. As much as I would love to assure that everything is going to go smoothly and that it will 'all work out', there is an element of 'trust and faith' that must be in place. On the list of worries I noted is the issue/concern I often feel of putting aside that 'to do' list, but I have come to recognize my firm and steadfast belief in 'good interruptions'. This does not mean that it is always easy to embrace the interruptions, but I think it is important to acknowledge this challenge to identify the greater scope of our work. Our mission is clear that we want our students and ourselves to 'adapt to a continually evolving world', and these experiences will assist the journey as they often provide the unstructured opportunities that give an authentic opportunity to practice the skills we have hopefully fostered within the walls of our classrooms at Blake. It is important that we look to find ways for us to 'get out of the way' of our students and I think this principle has implications that can transfer to our day-to-day lessons as well as we look to challenge our own assumptions about learning and the 'traditional modes of schooling'. I am sharing a post below that I believe directly and indirectly relates to this notion of 'good interruptions' from a parent's perspective...
Forget helicopter parenting. It’s all about submarine parenting
by Jaci Conry in The Boston Globe
Ellen Toubman shared this article with me a few weeks ago, as the Blake Site Council read the book referenced by Julie Lythcott-Haims, How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Over-parenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success. I had never heard the term 'submarine parenting' and it resonated with me as both an educator and a parent.
We hover around children during play dates, follow them around the playground so they don’t get hurt, and carry their backpacks as we escort them into school. We select their activities, and a few of us intervene on their behalf with teachers or coaches. All of this handholding sends the message that our kids can’t do this without us...Any sign of my children struggling and I crumble — my first instinct is to swoop in and fix it.
Of course, there is another way. Brookline’s Marie Schwartz, who runs TeenLife — which connects students and parents with community service organizations, summer programs, and schools for kids in grades 7-12 — suggests an alternative: submarine parenting. Parents stay out of sight — under the surface, if you will — letting kids manage situations as they come up.
Submarine parenting resonates with Blatt-Eisengart, who recommends putting children in situations a little beyond what they are sure they can do...The goal is for your children to be able to stand on their own. As they get older, participating in supervised experiences away from home is crucial to achieving this,
One the best things we can do for our kids is to lead by example.
With only about three weeks left in the 2015-2016 school year, there is a definite pressure that is felt to get through all of that curriculum. I remember it well as a former sixth grade math teacher, and those feelings have now been transferred in my role as an administrator - wanting to end the year strong, close out annual work, meeting deadlines, and planting the seeds that can help build bridges into the 2016-2017 school year and beyond. I encourage all of us, teachers and parents (myself included), to allow for both announced and unannounced interruptions to have their place in the learning experience of our students. I do not mean that we should always be thrown off course, but rather to provide room for the 'good interruptions'. I am thoroughly looking forward to two of these 'good interruptions' that are coming up - the Blake Mini-Marathon on June 2 and the screening of the documentary Screenagers with our parents (evening showing on 6/8) and our students (school day showing on 6/13). And, I am looking forward to the unanticipated 'interruptions' that may occur as well, as they will always give us an opportunity to reflect upon our values and the learning experience we want for our students and one another.
Carrying these ideas into practice is a hope I have for all of us, and to help ground these beliefs from my own experience this past week I am sharing the words from our mission along with quotations from both the FDR and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorials. These words bring meaning to the power of community - a trait I believe is strong for Blake students, parents, and educators...
Blake Middle School believes in a living mission statement, based on the concept that our community seeks and respects knowledge, integrity, character, wisdom, and the willingness to adapt to a continually evolving world.I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant. -- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. -- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. Let us move forward with strong and active faith. -- Franklin Delano Roosevelt
I never forget that I live in a house owned by all the American people and that I have been given their trust. -- Franklin Delano Roosevelt
I look forward to the work that lies ahead for all of us.
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