Silver Linings

So often in life, things that you regard as an impediment turn out to be great, good fortune.

—The Honorable Joan Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-2020), 

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States

These days, my most frequently asked question is, by far, “How are things going at school? Your team must be sleeping hard at night!” I cannot speak for all of my colleagues, but I will admit that my days are long, my evenings feel short, and I am resting quite soundly at night! Although one might infer that the sound sleep is due to physical exhaustion, my deep slumber actually stems from a healthy dose of peace and comfort, knowing that our decision to return this fall was thoughtful, intentional, and crafted with one thing in mind: the safety and well-being of our community. 

I began this blog inspired by the memory and words of the Honorable Joan Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-2020), whose birthday was coincidentally the same year of Beauvoir’s founding. Since our earliest beginnings, our faculty and staff have served our students with love, compassion, and creativity. Today, from the moment our Beauvoir faculty and staff arrive each morning to ensure that classrooms are ready for students and carpool signs are stationed outside for families, until late each afternoon when the building is given a thorough cleaning, synchronous and asynchronous lessons are planned, and ingredients are laid out for the next day’s lunch, there are committed teams working tirelessly on behalf of our tight-knit community. Faculty, staff, administrators, chefs, board members, students, parents, and caregivers are all doing their part and it shows. Our first two weeks were a success and I give thanks and appreciation to every community member for supporting our long-held vision to reopen school this September. We could not have done this without you!

In our faculty and staff conversations this fall, we have given each other many healthy reminders to support our work:  

                                  We are learning something new this year.

                                  We’re all in this together.

                                  It takes time and it takes a village.

                                  Our brains grow when we have missteps.

                                  Learning new things can be hard.

One of the most important reminders and invitations that I gave to colleagues this fall was to seek the silver linings whenever possible, for those are the moments that can inspire us and lead us to achieve what others may have considered impossible. I dedicate this message to the many courageous faculty and staff who surround me each day. I am honored to work alongside them and to share some of their silver lining reflections with our community members who have lifted us up from the beginning. We are all in this together!

Our Silver Linings at Beauvoir

Professionally, it has been wonderful to watch so many of my students grow leaps and bounds. For some children, this different way of teaching and learning has helped them because there were fewer distractions when they were learning. I have been amazed to watch so many students grow in their abilities and understanding more this year than other years. Also, parents got some real first-hand experience seeing how their children learn.

—Beauvoir Learning Specialist

I am so grateful for time on my yoga mat. The daily practice has centered me in ‘now’, focusing my thinking on what truly matters.  

—Beauvoir Cubs Teacher 

My husband returned from Texas two weeks ago, so I had to live with my youngest daughter. What fun it was to spend two weeks with her, and we hope to have a Mom-Daughter reunion overnight from time to time now. She said she missed her roommate this morning.

—Beauvoir Administrator 

I have a new-found appreciation of how special it is to spend time with family and friends, especially now that much of it has to be done via Zoom. 

—Beauvoir Learning Specialist 

For me, a silver lining about this year is that I’ve always thought I might like teaching a really small group of students. And now I get to try it! Even though I love that my partner teacher and I still share our 22, I feel I’ve already gotten to know the 11 in my pod so well by day 6. 

—Beauvoir Kindergarten Partner Teacher 

My kids have really loved having more family dinners. We didn’t have those often before and it’s been great to sit and chat together. We’ve also been able to have Dad home for bedtime which I love… so more Storytime and bedtime together has also been great. 

—Beauvoir Administrator 

Many more people have discovered the joy of being in nature. I am happy to have their company, bird by bird.

—Beauvoir Cubs Teacher 

I think this has given our children an opportunity to know that they truly CAN do hard things—really hard things! I know we didn’t need to be tested this much or for this long, but having them (and us!) live through the ‘doing hard things’ part I think really teaches us that we can!

—Beauvoir Administrator 

Personally, I have enjoyed the forced slow down. It gave us back time to spend trying new pastimes and we have tried out many new delicious recipes. I also have loved the fact that we can now spend Friday and Saturday nights watching movies and playing games together as a family because we are not running to countless events. 

—Beauvoir Learning Specialist

Professionally, I’m so glad for the silver lining of schools not basing so much of the admission decision on the WISC. That’s one of my favorite linings! 

—Beauvoir Administrator 

I have enjoyed slower/calmer weekends just taking walks and riding our bikes together as a family. Before the pandemic, we were constantly running around from activity to activity. 

—Beauvoir Learning Specialist

My list includes gratitude for a partner teacher who also values this mindset. Together we hope to model for our sweet Cubs how to be honest with oneself and others whilst using kind tones and intention. Such power they will gather for growth and good! 

—Beauvoir Cubs Teacher

We finally adopted a puppy that has brought us so much joy! 

—Beauvoir Learning Specialist

One silver lining for me has been that the pace of distancing in the mornings and afternoons has allowed me to welcome or greet each friend personally and individually as they enter and leave the school. 

—Beauvoir Administrator

This summer, I got so many projects checked off my to-do list that had been on that list for too many years. 

—Beauvoir Learning Specialist

This ‘new normal’ is certainly challenging me to change and adapt as a teacher—both in my teaching style and delivery of my lessons. We have had to incorporate technology into the classroom in ways we have never used before and think ‘outside the box’ when communicating and building relationships with our students. This at times has been difficult, but on reflection, I know that learning all these new skills will certainly help me grow as an educator. As Michelangelo said at age 87, ‘I am still learning.’ In the meantime, as Dory (Finding Nemo) would say, ‘I’ll just keep swimming!’ —Beauvoir First Grade Partner Teacher