TedTalks: Loving the Questions (More Than The Answers), Jan/Feb 2021
Ted Graf, Head of School
Like many of you, I have grown tired of the clichés that dominate news feeds these days--embrace ambiguity, accept uncertainty, plan for disruption, the only constant is change--the list seems endless.
And, yet, I am finding in my personal life, and in my school life, that nearly everyone is reassessing some aspect of their life. A cousin or sibling is now going to retire early; friends are moving “permanently” to the country; families are searching for homes that can support the new work reality; colleagues are moving to be closer to family; friends are starting new businesses; roommates are moving to a new city; and people are rethinking school and education. The amount of change I’m witnessing is dizzying.
At the heart of all this change are questions--valid, thoughtful, and provocative questions. How do we find greater balance between family and career? How can we ensure our children are deeply connected to their extended family? How can we get more support in raising our young family? To what degree can our children learn online (or not)?
As a school, we’re asking lots of questions too, especially as we launch two leadership searches. We’re writing and posing questions for the dozens of candidates who are drawn to us, and the quality of our questions is critical in shaping our community, our programs, and culture for the next few years.
Here’s a sampling of those questions written by elementary guides, middle school guides, and middle school students:
What brings you joy working in a school environment?
How do you imagine fostering community during a pandemic?
How do you bring people together when there are differences getting in the way?
What role does Montessori education play in teaching about systemic racism and environmental justice?
At our school we go by the PACT. Explain what that means and what do you do day to day to embody that?
How would you nurture freedom and choice while still holding the community to a high standard?
How did you contribute to your school’s COVID-19 planning process?
What ideas do you have that will add diversity of thought to our school?
I know many of us want answers right now; it’s only natural. At this moment, the thoughtfulness of our questions matters more than those answers. It’s the nuance and logic embedded in the question that will move us forward. If you have suggestions for questions we should be asking of the candidates for Elementary Director or Middle School Director, please share them in this form.
Thank you for joining me in these questions and seeking the answers.