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More than Teachers

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Head of School Andrew MenkeFive years ago we began a tradition of Class XII lunches to initiate the process of self-reflection as our seniors complete their journey at Waterford. As you might imagine, these meals affirm the amazingly powerful experience enjoyed here at Waterford.  Without fail, every student extols the virtues of our talented faculty, universally crediting their teachers for their growth and transformation as students and human beings.   

Waterford faculty care deeply about their craft, and about the impact they have on each child.  They are more than teachers, they are mentors, guides, confidantes and coaches. And in time, as has often been asserted by our alumni, they become lifelong friends who continue to have a profound impact.  

Each week as I circulate through well-planned classes, I observe faculty who are organized, scholars in their discipline, passionate about their subject, working to cultivate a sense of joyful delight in learning. They balance high expectations with thoughtful and patient nurturing. They build skills and confidence, imbuing in each student the belief that their gifts are essential to the success of the class. They vary teaching methodology and assessment, providing students multiple pathways to engage with the material.  

They value every minute of class time and convey a true sense of privilege to work with their students. They invite students on an intentioned journey with an underlying narrative that ignites curiosity and wonder.  They inspire intrinsic effort and build a climate of safety and trust that encourages each student to stretch beyond their comfort zone.  While correct answers are rewarded, Waterford faculty celebrate the process of formulating questions, inviting the kind of deep and meaningful inquiry that results in the development of a lifelong love of learning.  

Waterford faculty invest time in and out of the classroom to truly know their students and become their partners in the learning process.  Students are safe to be “amateurs,” to take risks, to stretch, to ask the more difficult questions indicative of an “expert” mindset.  The liberation of amateurism is what often fuels the quest for depth and breadth that is at the heart of the liberal arts experience at Waterford.

We are grateful for our exceptional faculty because they are the heart of the Waterford experience. They shape a love of learning that provides a lifetime of opportunities for our graduates.