Getting Down to Work

Last Sunday, many of our families celebrated Easter, with others set to celebrate in early May according to the Orthodox calendar. I wish you all a happy and blessed Paschal season. I also extend warm wishes to our Muslim families who mark Ramadan this month and Eid next week. Eid Mubarak.

With their teacher away from school attending a national art educator conference, I had the pleasure of covering a first-period painting class this morning. Before class, I sat at the teacher’s desk clicking away at my keyboard, focused too much on clearing my inbox and looking up every few moments to greet students as they settled in. At 8:55, the bell rang to mark the start of class. I closed my laptop screen, stood up, and found ten students seated around the room. They had brushes in hand, paint palettes on trays in front of them, and heads down engrossed in their work – nearly photo realistic oil paintings of fruit. I felt a little bad interrupting them to praise them for their focus and initiative! The experience is not limited to art. I’ve been in similar situations watching students initiate discussions in English class themselves when the teacher had to step out or students in math working on problems up at the board even before the start bell rings.

What’s different about the kids here? Their motivation is intrinsic. They own their learning. I know I speak for all of my colleagues when I say how much of a joy it is to work with these young people and how proud we are of the culture we have built together.

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