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A Word From the Head

February 2, 2017

Colored Pencils, Giggles, and Happy Orderliness
by Rod Gilbert, Head of School


Joyful orderliness exhibited by a teacher begets giggly, orderly joy in children. Let me explain.

Taking a break from my headmaster duties on Wednesday I ventured down Grammar Hall and inserted myself as the caboose in a line of second graders following their teacher back to their classroom. The little giggles started and the teacher (the train engine at the front) said with a cheeky grin, "Look, boys and girls, we have a NEW second grader today."  We keep walking down the hall. Quiet and happy. I do this little caboose game often. It's fun.

On this occasion, a girl tugged on my shirt. "Mr. Gilbert, would you go all the way to our class and sit at one of our chairs? Mine?" Checking my watch, "Gladly, let's go."  So we continued chugging down the hallway.

Sitting at the chair, I was mesmerized by Mrs. Ramon's kind tone and cheerful control. I looked ridiculous in that little chair, but that was part of the fun. Then I just watched.

Mrs. Ramon began to lead us, "We are learning about some new words, but before we get into our lesson, I have a little surprise."  Electric energy filled the room of children, but nothing out of line. The word SURPRISE invoked sensations. Muted glee abounded. Honestly, I had finished some headmaster-ish meetings earlier in the day and I was truly ready for some child-like glee.

She continues, "We have been using our colored pencils for quite some time, and sometimes pencils do get a little short after sharpening." Anticipation was building. We (I was now a second grader) could not believe what Mrs. Ramon was implying, but we dared to not over-expect. It was as if the children knew that over-expecting would be rude. Could it be!? The room fell into a quiet hush. Then, she said some words that I cannot recall because the word SURPRISE clouded the frontal lobe of my brain. She walked unhurriedly but intentionally toward the cabinets, opened the cabinet door and spoke some soft-toned words.

Yes! My friends, she pulled out 16 boxes of brand new Crayola coloring pencils. Brand new! Never opened! As the room filled with more orderly happiness and smiles she said, "Now, quietly open your desks and get out your pencil boxes." We all obeyed immediately. I got mine out. Well, really the box was my little friend's box, but she benevolently let me help get the box out. I'm a helper.

"Now, children, I want everyone to take out the pencils that are this short or shorter." She made the size of a golfing pencil with her fingers. At this point, the room was filled with joy. More happiness, but it was calm. I motioned for my friend to come over and take care of the pencils in our box. She knew which pencils to take out with nimble dexterity.

After a few more minutes, I could sense my exit to return to headmastering that was waiting for me down the hall. My heart was filled with joy because I was sitting in the presence of happy children who were being mentored by a master teacher. I exited as a fulfilled headmaster.

I will say it again.  Joyful orderliness exhibited by a teacher begets giggly, orderly joy in children.

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Joyful orderliness exhibited by a teacher begets giggly, orderly joy in children. Let me explain. Taking a break from my headmaster duties on Wednesday I ventured down Grammar Hall and inserted myself as the caboose in a line of second graders following their teacher back to their classroom. The little giggles started and the teacher (the train engine at the front) said with a cheeky grin, "Look, boys and girls, we have a NEW second grader today." We keep walking down the hall. Quiet and happy. I do this little caboose game often. It's fun.
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Rod Gilbert
Head of School

B.S. Economics
M. Divinity, Mid Amer Sem
Ph.D. (candidate) S Baptist Sem
Interests: soccer, Alpine dairy goats

read his bio



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