Principal's Message

It’s not surprising that this student was encountering difficulties at this time. The newness of the year is behind us and the pace of learning is picking up. Teachers have warmed up their instructional muscles so to speak and students are (hopefully) settling into routines.

The young woman wrote about hard, but constructive conversations she had with her teacher. Her words spoke of a truth that is lost on some students. As students get to know their teachers’ styles, it is important for them to remember that teachers are on their side. Some students seem to operate under the assumption that teachers don’t want them to succeed. It’s as if students imagine their teacher laughing maniacally when she writes a really confusing test question sure to trip them up. Students who look at school in this way see education as a zero sum game. When kids lose, the teacher wins because, hey, there’s only so much success to go around.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. Success at Nashoba Regional High School is not a scarce commodity.  Success comes in different ways for different kids, but it is generally the result of persistence, reflection and incremental growth. It is often easier for us to simply say, ‘I’m not a math person,’ than to appreciate that going for extra help each week eventually pays off in geometry class. 

Listen to a group of teachers talk about their students and you’ll hear tales of worry, frustration, excitement and hope. What is clear is that teachers understand that their success is tied directly to that of their students.  

We as parents send strong messages to our children when we discuss their experiences in school. Of course sometimes we roll our eyes at an assignment that has our kid in knots. ‘What is this teacher thinking?’ we ask ourselves. And sometimes we even say it to our kids.

When an issue dictates that we as parents have to make contact with the school about an issue in the classroom, the best way to get a quick and accurate response is to contact the teacher directly to find answers to your questions. Conversations about instruction should always start there. Of course, some issues may require the help of a guidance counselor or an administrator.  Before you do the calling, encourage your child to advocate for themselves and approach their teachers. This isn’t easy for kids, but it may be the most important lesson they learn in high school: namely, how to act in their own best interests when things aren’t going well.  

The young woman who sent the email to me clearly had been taught how to do advocate for her herself.  Although she was struggling in that class, she is clearly developing the tools to problem-solve the challenges that all of us face.  Sounds like a success to me.