Teaching Leaders

Yesterday (after tai chi and after my run/walk, yes) was our second annual Proctor Training program. Now, our Proctors are ninth graders who live on dorms with younger students. They’re residential assistants, big brothers, backchannel communicators between adults and kids, and intermediate supervisors. In the decade I’ve been teaching here, there have been good proctors… and proctors not quite as good as we might like.

So we instituted this proctor program, and I gotta admit, last year I did maybe 10% of the work; a colleague of mine, who moved this summer, did a lot of the prep-work for the program, and ran the first one. It was a huge thing, and I thank him for it. His departure put the work on me, though, and Oh MY, I might not have taken it on if I had known how much there was to do. Grocery shopping (I’ve never bought groceries for 20 people before for a weekend), calling places and people, enlisting assistants, and so on… figuring out the budget was a big one, and I think I blew it… I thank my former colleague if he reads this, for getting all the ducks in a row last year.

Here’s what I’ve learned.

Some people are born leaders. Some can be taught to be leaders. Some learn to be leaders by practicing and making mistakes.

Taking twenty kids to breakfast on a Sunday morning is expensive; it makes more sense to try to feed them at home. But getting the kitchen clean afterward? Breakfast out makes more sense.

Twenty kids can make the dough for three hundred cookies in a little under an hour and a half. Baking them takes a lot longer if you’ve only got one oven.

If you’re not falling-down tired at the end of the day of training, you’re doing it wrong.

There’s more, but I need to go get ready to take 20 kids to breakfast.

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One comment

  1. Adlai Stevenson once said:
    “It’s hard to lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse.”

    I am sure you did well and it was worth your effort, The best time of the weekend is sitting around the table with the new proctors at Bills just before the kids arrive. Have Fun! – PB

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