Intersections: #LoveMySchoolDay

April 11, 2017 by Bill Ivey

Early this morning, one of our English teachers posted that she would be needing someone to cover E period because one of her children was sick. Four minutes later, I saw it and immediately wrote and offered to help. But I was too late, as it turned out - one of my colleagues in the Performing Arts Department had already grabbed the chance.

Last week, I was talking with Shelley, the Assistant to the Deans, about just this phenomenon - the idea that people are so willing to help each other out here that sub requests are filled almost instantly. She said she’d worked in a number of other schools, and had never seen anything like it. Of course, I’ve been here so long it’s just my lived reality, but I still know to appreciate what we’ve got.

Later on this morning, while subbing in a Humanities 8 class, I overheard the following:

- (preparing to start a new project) "I don't know if I can."

- (nodding with considered confidence) "I can. I definitely can. I can every day."

- (warmly) "I love you, (kid)."

I posted this exchange on Twitter, and one of my friends wrote back, “So wonderful. Makes my day!

That instinctive desire to care for each other, even if (like any imperfect human beings) we occasionally fall short, is a thread connecting the Stoneleigh-Burnham of today to all previous years. As one student put it, “I love my school because I have never felt unwelcome here.  Everyone, since the day I visited SBS, made it me feel like they wanted me to be here, to be a part of this community.” And another student echoes that thought and expands on it: “I love my school because it makes me feel like I have a place where I'm cared for and a place where everyone truely (sic) wants me to succeed.” However any individual defines success - because, as a feminist girls school, we’re all about being our best authentic selves.

So many things go into creating that context. As one teacher said, “I love my school because of how hard and well we all work to listen to one another and ourselves.” You see that in class, during athletics, in the dining room, throughout the day. In today’s housemeeting, students gave speeches as candidates for next year’s Heads of Athletics, Big Sister/Little Sister Program, and Community Alliance. Every single speech focused in one way or another on the importance of listening, of recognizing and valuing every unique person, of wanting to both nurture and strengthen our community bond.

So yes, I love my school. How could I not?!

Written by Bill Ivey

A dedicated member of the faculty, Bill Ivey is the Middle School Dean at Stoneleigh-Burnham School. He teaches Humanities 7 and the Middle and Upper School Rock Bands. Bill is the advisor for MOCA, the middle school student government, and he coordinates and participates in the middle school service program. Among his many hats, Bill also coordinates social media for Stoneleigh-Burnham School.

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Filed Under: Girls Schools, community, Feminism, feminist school, Intsersections, #LoveMySchoolDay