I have always had academic schedule to my life. Elementary school, middle school, high school and then college, followed by teaching for the past nine years. With this type of schedule comes a unique rhythm to life. Periods of long-hours and intense stress followed by a respite of vacation that creates a dichotomy of emotions.
As we finish exams Friday morning and students depart for Spring Break, the contrasting sensations of stress (end of term grades and comments are due!) and subsequent relief are hard to explain to others who do not regular experience the cycles of an academic year. It is a pace of life I have come to appreciate, not only because of the vacation that awaits me next week, but because of the intangible sense of accomplishment that comes with the completion of the term.
As I grade exams, enter student comments and bid advisees farewell, I take a moment to breathe and reflect on the past four months. When we do this job right, we are exhausted, while at the same time satisfied. We see the growth in our students and understand all those long-nights of extra-help sessions, providing feedback, and engaging in conversations with our students is what makes learning and teaching at Proctor so unique. It is a sense of accomplishment. It is an overwhelming feeling that "this is hard work, and it is good" that energizes me when my body is most exhausted. It is a reminder that during even the most difficult of days, lives are being changed because of the education we are providing.
Over the past two weeks, students have worked incredibly hard on cumulative assessments. Some are traditional exams, however, teachers at Proctor have the option to assign project based exams as well.
Environmental Social Science students conducted month-long projects in small groups studying globalization (you can read about the learning process here
). Each group was tasked with identifying a non-profit agency (domestic or abroad) with which they partnered to raise awareness. One group raised money for an orphanage in Bolivia (where one of the group members was born), while another arranged a hunger banquet in the dining hall Tuesday evening.
World History students prepared speeches, demonstrating synthesis of content studied while improving public speaking skills. Economics students prepared fiscal and monetary policy proposals and presented to the class their thoughts on the future of economic policy in the United States. Labs in the science department, final papers in English, the list goes on.
While the last two weeks of the term often feel like a blur due to how busy we all are, Saturday morning we will wake up with a to-do list a fraction of the size of what it is today. It is my hope that through the strains of the week students experience that same sense of accomplishment that fuels me, and will realize just how much they have grown as learners over the past term.
Congratulations to all our students on completing two-thirds of the academic year! We’ll see you back at Project Period!