Appreciating Traditions

As I was putting on my Clark Kent/ Superman costume this morning, I remembered how, when I was younger, I took issue with traditions. I couldn’t stand the rhythm they seemed to impose on my life and I shirked them whenever I could. Then time passed and through education, I discovered a universe where traditions are in fact important milestones in children’s learning. My grudge against them softened. And then COVID came along and deprived us of so much that I now await the reinstatement of every tradition there is with bated breath–greeting them as signs that, for better or for worse, things are returning to normal. I’ve never enjoyed Halloween–a celebration that didn’t exist in France when I was a child, but which I have seen evolve into a global(ized) tradition over the years–as much as I have this year.

Halloween for Grown-Ups

Last night, I was delighted to attend the first evening social gathering at The École since February 2020. While I was chatting to Inspecteur Clouzot and his Pink Panther, Ted Lasso, Amy Winehouse, the Cookie Monster, Nandor, Amanda Gorman, and the other pirates, skeletons, and witches who dropped by, I realized once again how important The École is for so many of you, and how happy it makes you to spend time together, over a glass of wine or on the dancefloor, after so long spent apart, One thousand thank yous to Bolek, who is not only the lead architect and designer-in-chief of the Halloween Party, but who also singlehandedly provided a reassuring police presence while we were partying! Just like with the Back-to-School picnic, everything was impeccably organized and he deserves a heartfelt bravo.

Halloween for Kids

After Halloween for Grown-Ups last night, today was the kids’ turn to have fun and dress up. The school was certainly lively this morning–teaming with colors, wigs, hats, and accessories! The children’s creativity took center stage, with everyone expressing themselves, impersonating their favorite character, or representing their favorite sports, interests, and hobbies. Fun was had frightening friends and scaring ourselves–there was a palpable sense of relief among our younger students when the ghost in the lobby of the Elementary & Middle School Building turned out to be Benoit!

Midterm Updates

Another autumn tradition, the midterm updates, will be shared with families soon; the teachers have been poring over them for several days now and I would like to thank them for their work. The updates are not official report cards, rather they aim to keep families posted on the progress their children have made during the first eight weeks of school. They are not a checklist of skills and competencies acquired, rather they highlight some key points and offer individualized advice. I say it firmly: an evaluation is not by any means a judgment; it is a tool that allows us to identify areas of strength and areas for improvement. It remains the best way to learn more effectively and to continue to progress. Just because it’s Halloween does not mean that we are assessing children against the benchmark of a mythical, fantastic creature–the student who knows everything, who never makes any mistakes, and never encounters any difficulties. The teachers know very well that no such creature exists, and our students should definitely not be afraid of it, as they continue to progress steadily along their learning journey.

When you think of it, our students are our real, everyday superheroes.

Have an excellent weekend!

P.S. I asked one of the Harry Potters I met this morning if he could cast a spell to make sure all the tests would come back negative this weekend. That should do it, right?