Monday, May 25, 2009

School year's end approaches. No breathers yet, but maybe soon

It's been a crazy month once again, settling our seniors into their college choices, going through the final edits of The Intentional Teacher: Forging a Great Career in the Independent School Classroom--scheduled for publication some time this summer--and continuing work on the NAIS Financial Sustainability series monographs. (Reminder: If you work at an NAIS member school you can create a member profile to obtain access to all of these, plus some other great resources.)

A couple of lingering wait-list questions remain for the students, but on the whole the year was almost surprisingly good. One suspects that ability to pay may have tinted the waters more than in the past--mostly on the positive side for students--but we don't see wholesale disaster or selling out yet. I'm happy for the kids, who all seem pretty happy with their choices and eager to get on with it. Tough to be a senior in the last weeks of the year, but it's less than two weeks now before commencement; they'll make it.

As for The Intentional Teacher, it's my book on how to become, be, and grow as an independent school teacher. It has chapters on everything from getting hired to classroom management to curriculum design, and--as Billy Mays might say--much, much more. There is also a huge resource section. The book is available for pre-order at Avocus Publishing, 4 White Brook Road, Gilsum, NH 03448--the people who have published a number of books on independent school (and early on, particularly boarding school) topics.

I'm up to fourteen of these NAIS advisories right now, having just completed pieces on independent school-public/charter school partnerships, maintaining calm at the board level in hard times, and when and how to close down an independent school.

The last topic is just terribly sad, and it's possible that some readers here will have experienced it first-hand. The message is to make the decision early and to do it right; I'm watching my spouse's old Girl Scout camp (where she and I worked for a number of summers) go through this--we think; the GS council involved seems to be doing everything too late and in secret--and I can vouch for both the pain and the imperative that this task be done with sensitivity and integrity. Two of the Girl Scout camps at which I worked, including one I loved dearly, have been closed, and I still feel the pain. I've watched a couple of schools face the prospect of closure, and that has been even more tragic.

Anyhow, I think these last three advisories should go online at some point in the next week or two.

All this is to say that I've been a poor provider of content--much less wisdom--here, but there is some light at the end of the tunnel come July (still have a couple of school visits, some more writing, and a college trip to Ireland and the UK with our 17-year-old between now and then), and I plan on stocking up on Admirable Faculty ideas then.

In the meantime, may your school year end well and your plans for a new faculty orientation program include handing out copies of The Intentional Teacher (shameless plug) and perhaps something extra special, like a "Welcome to YourSchool" website. More on this soon.