How Guiding Truths Influence Us
By Linda Pryor, Executive Director of Mission & Academics
What truths do we face in the middle of a pandemic? During the last two months of the school year, the first truth that came to mind -- it was quiet. The children, our greatest joy, were missing. There were no messes in the halls or locker banks, telltale signs that our favorite people were not present. The hum of conversation and laughter in our buildings was no longer there. What a difference - you could feel it the moment you stepped into one of our buildings - it was just too quiet. We suddenly had a new normal. Our schedules were very different. The workload
was strangely more and less at the same time. Everything had changed and yet, nothing really had changed. These were and continue to be the truths of life at Brookfield Academy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
But then, we think again. Our goals, dreams, and efforts for our scholars never changed at all. We continued to help our students become their best. We motivated them to learn how to manage the ups and downs of life with a cheerful spirit and a willing heart. We continued to model for them the very best examples of kindness, joy, hard work, and the love of learning. We encouraged them to wonder about the ideas and stories we put before them and then we watched that wonder evolve into a deeper understanding and appreciation.
The path to achieving our goals and dreams looked very different, but everything we aspired to remained the same. Our Five Stars were firmly in place to guide our decisions and our actions so that we could feel secure and well-anchored despite the craziness around us. When a student worked to finish strong during remote learning -- even when no one was watching -- or a teacher visited with a student to help him diagram sentences on a driveway -- that was the Star of Character in action. The Star of Individuality kept us all focused on the fact that behind those faces in Zoom boxes were souls needing our understanding and attention. We remained eager to live out Brookfield Academy goals inspired by the Star of Intellect and learning was always at the heart of our work. But we also recognized the importance of family and we respected the struggles and hard work faced by our families; the Star of Heritage reminded us of the primacy of parents. Ultimately, the Star of Truth was the brightest of all. At Brookfield Academy, we will always seek what is good, true, and beautiful in the world. We lived out that truth by striving to balance everyone’s health with the need for children to feel connected and a part of the community. Faculty and staff driving house-to-house to drop off materials and waving through the windows was important. A teacher mailing a handwritten message to students to teach a history lesson about letter writing and the art of cursive was worthwhile. Inviting students to a car parade to say goodbye to their school year was meaningful.
Another truth that remained constant during this time: Learning continued to be our mission. This was not the time to worry about points on a test or quibble about grades -- learning remained the heart of the matter and all that our teachers focused on. The biggest truth: Love would get us through this. As teachers spent countless hours prepping their online lessons, zooming with groups and individual students, rethinking and replanning how to share ideas with their scholars - the motivation continued to be love. The Star of Truth remained bright.
So rather than ask, “What truths do we face in the middle of a pandemic?” I challenge you to ask “What truths must we embrace in the middle of a pandemic?” The truths we embrace are those that will sustain us. These truths continue to be our Five Stars -- and we strive to live them, share them, and teach them to our scholars, because they are at the heart of who we are as a school.