Flip your year
Posted by lpearle on 3 September 2013
This is the start of the school year and very nearly the start of the new Jewish year. Many of us are making some sort of resolution, following up on our thinking and reflection from last year. In opening speeches and at convocations, we’re being exhorted to make this year the best, being welcomed to the start of a new chapter and all that stuff. New faculty and new students are learning their way around the school both physically and emotionally, as well as historically. Traditions are being explained, school songs taught, and there are lots of “remember when?” and “I wonder how [former teacher/student] is doing in [new job/new life/new school]” comments.Very rarely do we look back at last year and celebrate it.
But what if we in some ways flipped our year?
At the start of the year, celebrate faculty anniversaries for years of service, giving new teachers a sense of who their colleagues are and how much they have been valued by the community. Give our academic awards for returning students, giving new students a sense of what the school’s intellectual and social life is like – what they can aspire to win/become and how they, too, can grow. Rather than (as is traditional) doing all this at the end of the year, make the welcoming part not only a start to a new year but a celebration of the past one. Let the departing students and faculty hog the limelight in June, and put it squarely on those who are still at the school in September.
We’ve talked about flipping our classrooms and our libraries, now let’s flip our year.