As campus comes alive each September, we feel the familiar energy of adolescents coalescing around something they have been missing all summer: community.
If you ask a student to define Proctor’s culture with words, they may have a hard time. But, just as we can feel it when we step into it as adults, so, too, can our students. It is tangible, real; a culture created and built upon over the past half century.
Proctor has become a first-choice school for kids. They want to be here because it feels right. They looked around at other options and opted into this community when they saw how students bucked the notion of social cliques, opting instead for a constant social regrouping as off-campus programs come and go and athletic teams reshuffled friend groups each season. They saw experiences like Project Period and advisory bring together seemingly random groups of students and new friendships and an appreciation for each other emerges.
Proctor is also a first-choice school for educators. We are a community filled with people who believe so deeply in this educational model that they immerse themselves and their families into the beautiful chaos of boarding school life.
The intergenerational learning that takes place professionally among colleagues inspires even our most seasoned teachers to keep growing, stretching, and learning. We teach and coach each other’s kids, walk each other’s dogs, and, over time, our lives become knit together in a way that solidifies the foundation of the community our students experience.
While headlines focus on what a challenging time it is to be an educator, we believe it is the most important time to be an educator. Our students need us more now than any other generation of teenagers have needed their teachers. They are hungry for connection, desperate to be pushed out of their comfort zone and to find deeper meaning in their work than any textbook can provide. They want to get proximate to their learning, and at Proctor we have the ability to do just that.
Our work has just begun for this year, and already we are seeing the impact of this work on our students.