Dear Blake Families -
The weather this past weekend was certainly a welcome sight after the rain we have been experiencing over the last couple of weeks. We had a busy, but great weekend- Friday night's ice cream social at the elementary school in Holliston, Veterans Memorial Monument dedication on Saturday morning, sports games, and a get-together with friends on Saturday. On Sunday afternoon we went to the Paw Sox game with my parents for Father's Day and had a wonderful time!
One of the highlights of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial dedication on Saturday morning was spending time chatting with and getting the opportunity to meet former Medfield students who had not visited the schools in a good period of time. There was a wonderful sense of community in place and it brought back the sense of recognition and appreciation that we felt at our Veterans Day assembly in November. Many of the veterans and family members shared that they had not seen one another for a lengthy period of time and it was amazing to see how much things had changed. At this time of year (reunions, graduations, end-of-year assemblies), we often hear that same sentiment expressed. With this in mind I have posted an article that I read last November by David Brooks, 'How People Change', in The New York Times. Brooks references a widely shared e-mail known as the 'Crews Missile', countering the intent of its message as he shares his own view as to how to foster and encourage change in others:
Human behavior flows from hidden springs and calls for constant and crafty prodding more than blunt hectoring. The way to get someone out of a negative cascade is not with a ferocious e-mail trying to attack their bad behavior. It's to go on offense and try to maximize some alternative bad behavior. There's a trove of research suggesting that it's best to tackle negative behaviors obliquely, by redirecting attention toward different, positive ones. It's foolish to imperiously withdraw and say, come back to me when you have a plan. It's better to pick one area of life at a time (most people don't have the willpower to change their whole lives all at once) and help a person lay down a pre-emptive set of concrete rules and rewards. Pick out a small goal and lay out measurable steps toward it.
I believe this viewpoint is a healthy and productive one as we approach our last full week of school. I have copied the questions I sent along last week to our staff, so that they can hopefully remain at the forefront of your thinking:
- What was meaningful this year? What made teaching worthwhile? What mattered?
- Describe a positive interaction or experience you had with a student during this academic year.
- Describe or explain an accomplishment you attained or something you are proud of taking place during this academic year.
- Describe a particular student or situation during the school year who or that you feel you could have handled in a way that would have resulted in a more positive learning experience.
- What is an area that you would like to grow professionally?
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