Have you ever wondered what it’s like to teach art to first graders or Spanish to seniors? Ever curious how a head of school spends their day? In this week’s episode, we share stories and lived realities from three distinct vantage points: Nancy Rivas (Co -Chair of the Department of World and Classical Languages), Jessica Farris (Lower School Art Teacher), and Kevin Lewis (Head of School). Check out host Emmi Sprayberry’s intro below:
When I was a kid, I loved the Wizard of Oz. I loved it so much that when my dad and I would go on walks we would do the hop side skip walk that they do when they are off to see the wizard. No matter how many times I watched it, Toto pulling back the curtain to reveal the real Wizard was my favorite part. In that moment everything changes for all the characters and a new perspective emerges. We only can really work with the knowledge, skills, experiences, and energy that we have. Are we going to make some mistakes along the way – totally. But I think the more we know (cue the NBC star) , the better we can do in working together toward the same goals because at the end of the day we are all , faculty and admin, on the same team. Maybe if we work together to bridge the divide we can create a better community and experience for everyone. Will it be perfect – no , but maybe we can continue to strive for better and not give into the them vs us mentality. So today we are sharing stories and words, reflecting our truth and lived realities of what exactly does a day or week in the life of a teacher or administrator really look like.
It turns out in talking about a day in the life, we also hit on some pretty essential truth to building a better community . . . one story at a time. See the podcast and show notes below.
4:37-6:12: Why no two days are the same for a head of school.
6:26-7:28: Jessica shares a day in the life of teaching art: a mix of predictability and unpredictability.
7:25-9:39: Nancy describes a day in her life: punctuated with both structure and flexibility, awash with emails galore, and most joyful when she is actually teaching Spanish: “we’ve planned, we’ve dreamed about it, and we interact with our students.”
10:21-14:25: What we all learned from the past few weeks of stormy weather in relation to communication from admin to faculty.
14:25-17:42 : Jessica shares a list she imagines makes up Kevin’s day to run by him, and she is remarkably on target; Kevin shares one of his biggest challenges in this role: “being accessible and available to every individual so I can listen and learn”
17:44-18:53: Kevin’s philosophy regarding faculty support: “Stay out of your way as much as possible . . . [and] take admin things off faculty’s plates so you can do the magic you do in the classroom.”
19:25-22:07: Real talk about how time consuming communication to students, colleagues, admin is for faculty all day long.
22:20-24:02: Why Jessica thinks we could all learn a lot from listening to each other’s daily lived realities, and how co-curricular teachers at lower school recently worked to bridge the gap with classroom teachers there: “We are all so passionate, we are all so invested in care, and our days are full . . . understanding what is happening helps you be more compassionate/trusting.”
24:02-26:02: Why faculty to faculty story sharing is also necessary in bridging those gaps.
26:02-28:00: How real listening takes “putting the brakes on from ‘I just have to get things done’”; and how listening and slowing down might aid in health and wellness, not just for the individual, but our entire community.
28:26-30:30: Why taking an art class might be the key to bridging all the gaps: “You can’t solve a problem without imagination. You can’t have empathy without imagination.”
33:22-34:29: The value of time, not just chronological time but a “mental space” for creative work to go to fruition.
34:30-38:00: 3 snapshots in time that recently showed Kevin the magic of our community, and why individual interactions with folks helps him relate back to why he does what he does.
39:08-41:55: How that time Shea jumped in to finish carpool so Jessica could work on her lesson plans helped motivate Jessica to do her best for her students and team; and the vital importance of admin leaders showing vulnerability and cognitive flexibility.