"Please Pass the Catsup"

Posted by bhulsey - 25 October, 2012

Trust is the foundation of any meaningful relationship, and it flows through the Randolph community making this a special place for children to go to school and for teachers and coaches to ply their craft.  Last week during faculty in-service I was visiting with our new faculty about their first impressions of the School, and the conversation quickly turned to trust and how it empowers us all to reach beyond ourselves.

Meade Davis teaches first grade, and for the past several years worked in a public school in Mississippi before moving to Huntsville this summer.  She told us a story that shows how trust builds community, even for our youngest students.  At her previous school, there was a very strict regulation on catsup.  Students were only allowed two packets, no matter what was being served.  Most of us would agree that cafeteria food improves significantly with more than two packets of catsup, but the rule is the rule at this school, and it was a daily irritant to the students and the teachers.

So imagine Mrs. Davis’ surprise in her first week at Randolph when one of her first graders stood up from the table and went to retrieve a bottle of catsup.  She was dumbfounded!  He came back, sat down, and served himself an appropriate amount of catsup.  Very little was wasted.  His friends then proceeded to ask him to pass the catsup, and they served themselves as well.

Now this may seem small, but it’s a story that demonstrates how much more we can grow and develop and how much more readily we can invest in each other when we are trusted to do what’s right.  When a kindergartner leaves the classroom on her own to go to the library to get a book that she wants to read, she’s trusted.  When a Middle School student asks permission to leave homeroom to get extra help in math and it’s granted without a hall pass, he is trusted.  When a senior uses her privileges to leave campus during the school day to tutor a needy child in a Title One public school, she is trusted.

For trust to last, it must be reciprocated.  It builds self-restraint, which sustains the freedom to which we all aspire.  It’s at the heart of what we do here, and it’s the engine that produces the climate that liberates teachers to teach and students to learn.  Trust also binds us together with parents as we take the day to invest in personal conferences that show our common commitment to the growth and development of children.  And the trust our parents have in us to use our in-service time in October to make the School better for the children under our care is just another reminder that a little more trust and a little more freedom empower us all to reach beyond ourselves in service of the greater good.

Topics: character, community, School Culture, learning, Uncategorized, Community of Learners, trust

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