This week I faced the situation that I have been most nervous about since arriving at Nantucket New School. It all started on Wednesday morning as I was sitting with a parent talking about secondary schools. There was a small rap on my door, and then it burst open. A first grader stared me down and said, “Todd, I lost a tooth.”
My immediate thought was, “Uh-oh get Kate,” but Kate was subbing in one of the Upper School classes.
“Are you OK?” I asked the very calm student in front of me. “Are you bleeding? Do you need ice?”
“I am fine,” she said as she smiled widely revelling the new gap in her teeth. “Now, you’re supposed to get me the holder and necklace.”
“Right!” I responded as I headed toward the drawer that held the new bedazzled necklaces and tooth holders that had arrived this summer. I was thankful this first grader was clearly a “tooth loss” veteran. She followed me to my desk pinching the tiny tooth in her fingers. She picked the green necklace, clicked the lid of the tooth holder shut, and pulled the finished product over her head.
“Is there a song I need to sing?” I asked my new mentor.
“No song, now I just go back to class,” and after a quick picture, out the door she went. My first student tooth loss was a victory!
As I flip through the pictures that I have collected in the last 10 days, I am overwhelmed by so many things: the experiences your children are collecting, the faculty leadership, the partnerships we have developed, the positive tone the students bring to this community. And all of those components came together for me on Field Day. What an amazing display of community, student, and faculty spirit. It is such a pure example of kids being kids. I have worked in schools with primarily older students, and sadly, I can confirm that “kids being kids” can be a rarity as the complications of being a teen become more real. It was amazing to watch the older students engage with the younger in a meaningful way. We had a couple of bumps along the way, but by far the the vast majority of moments today were so positive. I watched students of all ages take chances and try new events. I watched the 8th grade become leaders, role models, and amazingly good sports. I watched students celebrate each other regardless of their team or age. I think everyone who was involved in Field Day will sleep well tonight, but I will certainly be ready for another one this June.