co-authored with Charlotte M. '16
I was staying overnight with my brother and his family so I wouldn't have to get quite so early a start to attend a conference at Simmons College entitled "Dreaming Big: What's Gender Got to Do With It?" The conference would present a study on middle schoolers and career aspirations and provide opportunities to discuss implications and ideas for follow-up. My brother and sister-in-law enjoy the TV program "Modern Family" (as do I), and after we caught up on our lives for a bit, we settled in to enjoy the evening's episode. In retrospect, it turned out to be a good way to warm into the conference, as the show, progressive as it is in some ways, does in other ways reflect the kind of stereotyping about work that is too often seen in the media. For one example, neither of the two moms in the show have a salaried job.
Filed Under: Teaching, Grades 7-12 and PG, On Education, Boarding and Day, Parenting, On Parenting, Reading, All Girls Education, In the Classroom, The Faculty Perspective, Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Education
"You're dripping." I looked down to see a few drops of coffee on my shorts, not a complete surprise since I had to take a few sips off the drip guard of my Joe Bean's coffee cup when I picked it up. Before I could act, my son took the cup from me, gently wiped my hand off, wiped down the cup as well, and handed it back to me. I thanked him, and we resumed our conversation as we continued heading north to Charlottesville where my son was moving in as a first year student at the University of Virginia.
Filed Under: Middle School, Grades 7-12 and PG, School Happenings, On Education, Bill Ivey, Boarding and Day, Parenting, On Parenting, All Girls Education, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, The Faculty Perspective, Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Education
So far, it's been the kind of summer most people assume teachers spend. Mornings consist of waking up when my body tells me to, relaxing and reading over breakfast, eventually going out on a run, and finally getting ready for the rest of the day. My family is on roughly the same schedule, and the time together is beyond wonderful. The rest of the day? Well, most of our extended family live within a two-hour drive, so we have been seeing a lot of them. It's a pace that agrees with me, and I feel more rested and refreshed than I have in several years.
Filed Under: Middle School, Teaching, Grades 7-12 and PG, summer, On Education, Bill Ivey, Boarding and Day, Parenting, relaxing, All Girls Education, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, The Faculty Perspective, Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Education, slowing down
Spring is often an intense time of transition in kids' lives as the school year ends, and as such is frequently marked by rituals such as the 8th Grade Moving Up Ceremony, Upper School Awards Ceremony, Vespers, and Farewell to Seniors at Stoneleigh-Burnham, Baccalaureate in my son's school, and of course Commencement in both schools plus thousands of others. Another important marker of transition for young people of the Christian faith is Confirmation, and my niece went through that ritual this morning in her church. The similarities to some of our school ceremonies are striking but unsurprising - identifying and celebrating what makes each kid special, marking the bond they created with other, marking the bond their advisors created with them, and always looking to the past as the crucible which formed us as well as the future which shines with such promise. As these young people, only one of whom I had ever met (my niece!), shared memories of their baptisms, their journey through the year in Confirmation classes, and personal perceptions of their special gifts and how they planned to use them in service, the sense of community was striking.
Filed Under: Middle School, Teaching, Grades 7-12 and PG, On Education, Bill Ivey, Boarding and Day, Parenting, On Parenting, All Girls Education, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, The Faculty Perspective, Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Graduation, Education
I still have vivid memories of the first SBS Vespers ceremony I ever attended, 26 years ago. A graduate of a public high school, I was wholly unprepared for the depth of emotion, the sheer, inconsolable sadness some of these kids were feeling. When I graduated, we were all going off to parties afterwards and were still looking forward to a whole summer of fun together before heading off to our various colleges and life destinies. I knew our true separation was inevitable, but it still felt like a long ways off and was easy to put out of my mind. These kids, on the other hand, were about 14 hours away from saying goodbye to people who had truly become family to them, people with whom they had lived 24/7, sharing the ups and downs of their lives and relying on each other for the kind of deep down solid support you always seek but don't always find in life. And now the Class of 1986 was saying goodbye with a virtual guarantee that they would never again be all together in the same place, and some of them would really and truly never see each other again. The closest friendships, of course, would survive, and others would be renewed at reunions. But caught up in separation anxiety, it was hard for them - and for that matter, for me - to keep that in mind.
Filed Under: Alumnae, Grades 7-12 and PG, On Education, Bill Ivey, Boarding and Day, Parenting, Girls Schools, On Parenting, All Girls Education, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, The Faculty Perspective, Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Graduation, Education
Family Weekend this year was inspiring in many ways. Developing student voice is a fundamentally important aspect of the core mission of our school, and there was evidence of that everywhere you looked. My Humanities 7 students took turns standing up and reading their poetry to probably the largest assembled group of parents and family members seen in any classroom over the weekend, perhaps a little softly on the first poem, but always more loudly and clearly on all the rest once the warm supportive applause of their peers and families washed over them. Each poem was absolutely unique to that student and yet, taken as a whole, they revealed truths about who the class is as a whole and for that matter what it is like to be a 7th grader in today's world.
Filed Under: Middle School, Teaching, Grades 7-12 and PG, School Happenings, gender, Family Weekend, On Education, Bill Ivey, Boarding and Day, Parenting, On Parenting, community, All Girls Education, In the Classroom, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, The Faculty Perspective, Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Education, Admissions
I glance up and notice the little plastic clasp screwed into the underside of the shelf of our TV stand. The pointy part, that stuck into the clasp and prevented the door from being opened without extreme intellectual and physical effort, has long since been removed. Not so the memories of putting it on in the first place, which my wife and I did around the same time we added the gadgets to every cabinet door in our apartment above the library, plugged plastic shields into all the outlets, stuck soft protectors on every furniture corner we owned, and generally ensured everything was as safe as possible for the imminent arrival of the child that turned out to be our son. Long before he thought or even knew about crawling, we had done everything we could think of to protect him from any dangers we could imagine.
As our children grow up, of course, we continually and deliberately work to ensure they can eventually take care of themselves. It may be bittersweet at times, but if our true goal is that our kids grow up to be happy and confident, balancing self-reliance and connectedness, we really have no choice. Yet, the same instinct that leads us to prepare our apartments months ahead of when we really need to is never far from the surface, as my parents periodically remind me whenever my brothers, my sisters, or I are going through hard times in one way or another.
Filed Under: Middle School, Teaching, Grades 7-12 and PG, On Education, Boarding and Day, Parenting, Girls Schools, On Parenting, College Prep, All Girls Education, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, The Faculty Perspective, Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Graduation, College Acceptances, Admissions
Your Identity is Not Decided by the Sticker on Your Car's Rear Window: Advice for Parents during the College Admissions Process
Last Tuesday night, the Parents’ Association was treated to an evening with Deb Shaver, Director of Admissions at Smith College. As the parent of a son who is in the throes of the college application process, I had a personal interest in this event I was organizing for Stoneleigh-Burnham parents. This is the second year we have hosted Deb and each time we ask her to provide the inside story on admissions and then give advice on how to guide their daughters through the process without nagging, controlling, or being too anxious.
With humor and diplomacy, Deb jumped right in, anticipating our questions and yes, some of our pathologies. Telling her own story of trying to help her son with this process when he wanted no help and only wanted to play in a rock band, she regaled us with her frustrations knowing we would feel more open to expressing our own. She articulated six points we were to commit to memory for the sake of our daughters – and I feel like her advice is worth repeating: