Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Random Thoughts and Musings

(photo by The Gaston Gazette)
This past Saturday, Gaston Day School and Gaston Christian School participated in "The Battle for the Bell." The event involves nine athletic contests and whichever school wins the most gets to keep the Gaston Day School Bell for a year--so winning the Bell entitles either school to bragging rights for at least a year. Coach Field and I came up with the idea of the Battle of the Bell last year, pitched it to our friends at Gaston Christian, and everyone liked it. Our hope was that the Bell would become an important symbol and source of the two schools' friendship and healthy rivalry. Last year in the inaugural event, the two schools tied. Gaston Day School therefore retained the Bell.

This year Gaston Christian hosted the competition, and every contest that I attended was incredibly exciting and close. Yes, Gaston Christian prevailed 6-3 in the overall competition and, for the first time, they won the Bell. Congratulations to them and to athletes from both our schools who competed so hard and so well!!

No one is more competitive than I am--possibly with the exception of Athletic Director Casey Field. The prospect of reclaiming our Bell makes me look forward to the next year's Battle for the Bell. 
But--and I know this may sound hard for some people to understand--it's good that Gaston Christian won the Bell. Their victory makes next year's competition even more important and exciting. Now we have an honest-to-goodness rivalry, and we have got to figure out a way to bring our Bell back to its home!! I sure hope we win it back next year, don't you?? Won't it be sweet when we do!!

On a completely different front--I told you this was random thoughts and musings--the GDS administration is thrilled with the feedback we are receiving from parents about our efforts to achieve balance and proper limits in student life. Many of our parents obviously share our concern that Gaston Day School be a fun place to learn. That doesn't mean that the academics are going to be any less rigorous. But it does mean that all GDS educators are trying to be more efficient with their teaching and eliminate anything that is just busy work. Thanks to those of you who are recognizing the difference this is making in our students lives. Parents, special thanks to those of you who are encouraging your children to be focused in their studies at home and careful not to spend too many hours texting and tweeting (Yes, I said "hours." The average American high school student spends 2.5 hours a day texting!! That doesn't count other forms of screen time. You can get a lot of homework, recreation, and family time done in 2.5 hours! You can even sleep more.) In all seriousness, teachers and parents have to work together to encourage our students to set priorities and use their time wisely.  

Is there really such a thing as too much homework? Yes. Yes. Yes. Is there really such a thing as
spending too much time doing your homework? Yes. Yes. Yes. Does texting and other social media devices consume great amounts of student time that could be spent more productively on other things? Yes. Yes. Yes. 

If GDS students really are going to be well prepared for college, then part of that preparation is teaching them how to study efficiently and effectively. There really is such a thing as studying too much or too long. If your children are doing that consistently, then they need to be talking to their teachers and figuring out why. Study skills are just as important as content mastery.

O.K. No more preaching from the Head of School. But the conversation about balance and limits is not going to go away. I will be talking more about it in the future. But enough already for right now.

Have you seen the Henry Baseball Field? Oh my goodness, the grass is down on the infield and the whole complex looks spectacular!!! Wonder who will hit the first home run? Strike out the first batter? Complete the first double play? I can't wait to find out.

In closing, remember: Gaston Day School, a great place to learn and have fun! Talk to you soon.