So, TCS, What Have YOU Learned This Year?

The 2020-2021 academic year has been extraordinarily challenging for students and staff alike. The promise of accelerating vaccinations and declining cases of COVID-19 has given a boost to student confidence that the summer and next academic year will return to a more active and normal way of life.

Now that our TCS students have entered exams and end-of-year summatives, to demonstrate their understanding of the year’s material, it is a fair time to ask what the School has learned about itself this year.

Here are four key observations that I have taken from this past pandemic year:

  1. A TCS education, and education in general, are fundamentally social. Like-motivated kids from across the country and across the world working, playing and living together as roommates, teammates and classmates. Establishing life-long friendship and life long goals; a sense of purpose. And, having fun! Being on campus is exceptionally important. We are not threatened by the fact that some believe online learning could become a mainstay of the education system; it might support our efforts at TCS, but it will never replicate or replace TCS. You can’t board online and most of us don’t want to teach or learn online full-time either.
  2. Caring teachers and staff remain the key to a great education. The committed adults at TCS are able to maintain a high level of support under even the most challenging of circumstances; this year is case in point. They adjust, they modify, they create, they deliver. What motivates and drives them? They fundamentally care more about their students and their students’ success.
  3. A sense of community and belonging is critical for young people. Being a part of TCS, even if you are joining online from miles away, provides this feeling of belonging. People need people. And kids need other kids more than adults need adults. When you are a kid at TCS you feel part of a global village of other young people. You have a place at TCS and you have a better sense of your place in the world.
  4. TCS is a source of perpetual support that extends beyond your days as a student. Graduation from TCS is not a finish line. We have been around for 156 years and we will be around for many more years. Friendships continue long after Speech Day; fond memories do too. Our thousands of well-engaged alumni are proof of this! We continue to support our students after they graduate; and friendships continue long after students leave the School. We will always be here for our students, past and current, just like their TCS best friends.

I could extend this list of lessons easily. And, I am sure that you and your children could compose your own list of the “lessons learned” over this past year. I would encourage you to do so. And, please, I would welcome you sharing those thoughts and insights with me as well.

students reflections summer vacation

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