Glass Half Full: Home stretch of a 46-year educational career
Monday, Aug. 21, marked the beginning of the 2017-18 academic year for Incline Village schools, public and independent, and the first day of my last year as a full-time educator.
This is my 46th school opening, and it is with a mix of emotions that I acknowledge it is my last. I have been and will always be passionate about education.
I look back on my career and feel justifiably proud and appreciative of the opportunity to spend nearly half a century doing what I love in schools across the country.
In each, I have learned so very much from teachers of all ages: students in preschool through high school and beyond; rookie teachers; mentors in administrations, and as colleagues. I have been blessed.
Many things have changed over 46 years; some have not. Good teachers around the country continue to spend time that non-teachers can never fully appreciate preparing, pondering, and providing.
At Lake Tahoe School, IES, IMS, and HIS, faculty have spent time in deep conversations about the year ahead, including individual children and ways to work best with them. Many of the same teachers have been hard at work throughout the short summer, taking classes, developing curriculum, and preparing their rooms.
The old joke that says something to the effect of the best three things about teaching are June, July, and August couldn’t be further from the truth.
In the first place, summer in Incline is two months, not three. In the second place, it is the work we do with children that inspires us. To bring out the best in them, we need to continue to become the best we can be.
Good teachers are never content with the status quo. We are always striving to improve what we offer our students. The best way parents can help their children succeed in school is to partner with the experts who work with them every day. Become a team. Children often behave very differently at home than at school — and vice versa. Adults need to communicate.
In the year to come, I plan to share occasional experiences from my classrooms and schools. As much as anything, I see the opportunity to provide a little insight into the world of teachers, what makes us tick, and lessons learned along the way.
At Colorado Academy, where I was Head of the Preschool in a JK-12th school for four years in the mid-70s, we were on our way back from PE one day when we encountered a paraplegic in a wheel chair. The kids responded by pointing and laughing. I was not happy.
We marched back to our building, where I proceeded to lay into my young charges about empathy and sensitivity, and such.
After a minute or two, one of the little boys raised his hand. When I called on him, he patiently noted, “Mrs. Glass, we’re only five.” And so they were. I don’t know what they learned that day, but that lesson certainly stuck with me.
Ruth Glass is headmaster at Lake Tahoe School. She can be reached for comment through her blog at http://www.laketahoeschool.org.