The Opportunities Our Teachers Offer

  • Head's Note
Tobin Bechtel

We have been able to have on-campus, hybrid and distance learning at Sage Ridge for a quarter of a year now, and this is cause for celebration and gratitude. Without the dedicated energy and flexibility of our faculty, we would not be able to make this happen.

World Teacher’s Day was on 5 October and we asked students to create notes of appreciation. It was wonderful to see their insights, and the wall of notes created a joyful picture of how much our students value their teachers. To quote some of them directly:

  • I love how my teachers all have a positive mindset, and have good humor
  • Thanks for teaching us in a pandemic!
  • Thank you for helping me learn everyday and helping me become a better person
  • My teachers are always there for me and help me when help is needed!
  • Thank you for always seeing the best in your students.

As we continue through the year we should be grateful that we are able to still have these connected experiences - this is a major strength of our small community. We know that this year will not be ‘normal’ and we need to continue to be understanding that our teachers in many ways are experiencing their first year of teaching all over again, with a completely new set of rules, expectations, tools, and adjustments to their curriculum and class meetings. We will keep our students engaged in learning. They will grow. They will learn. 

Dr. Toby Travis in a recent article observed that if teachers attempt to create the same pacing of learning as they have in previous years, they will burn themselves out in a matter of weeks. I concur with him that:

“…this year we have an opportunity to focus far more on measuring success and excellence in the development of social and emotional skills. Those life competencies that will serve our students for a lifetime.

Numerous studies have shown that over 90% of the content delivered to high school students is forgotten within four years of graduation. Yes, content is important, but it is not the chief and highest learning that needs to take place.

This year, perhaps more than any other, we have the opportunity to focus intentionally on the development of life skills such as patience, understanding, empathy, and placing others ahead of ourselves. Supporting students and each other in the development of these skill sets is where we can shine this year.”

I always try to keep in mind that our students are watching. They are watching how we are managing this crisis. We have an opportunity to grow as a community through these extraordinary times. We have an opportunity to encourage one another to surmount the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities that continue to come. We have an opportunity to help our students become leaders who can be trusted to care for the world with an unknown and unpredictable future. And all this is possible because of our teachers and their deep care for our children. 

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