I remember having the September blues as a student. For me, as for many of you I’m sure, making the best use of our all-too-short summer was a priority. Something new was bound to happen every day, and we were absolutely engaged in life. The return to school represented the loss of this engagement, the curtailment of unbounded physical activity, back to the regiment of rows of desks, seating plans, and hours of listening to the voice of the teacher filling us with knowledge like a pitcher with water. Charles Dickens satirized this in the mid 19th century in his novel, Hard Times:
“In this life, we want nothing but Facts, sir; nothing but Facts!”
The speaker, and the schoolmaster, and the third grown person present, all backed a little, and swept with their eyes the inclined plane of little vessels then and there arranged in order, ready to have imperial gallons of facts poured into them until they were full to the brim.
These memories are so engrained, in fact, that each year I am surprised by a different September phenomenon. We keep the school open throughout the summer, and every week we get a visit or two from present students of The Academy — just dropping by to say hi, to see what’s happening during the summer, just to be back in this great school. Invariably, they say they are looking forward to September.
That’s something that I heard from many of you as well on September 2 – students were actually looking forward to school!
I think I know why: engaging classes; constant variety of experiential activities; supportive friends and classmates; a first-rate facility; a fabulous, compassionate staff. By designing an educational program around each student’s needs and strengths, we are able to change the old paradigm of education. It is indeed good to be back!
Charles Dickens would be proud.
Don Adams – Head of School