One of the truisms about teachers is that we don’t get out much, particularly boarding school teachers. We’re locked into pretty rigorous schedules from September through May or June, our time is limited and precious, and we don’t have much time to spare or to offer to others people’s programs. Most of the teachers I know have time for one other activity, whether it be Church, Masonic lodge, community theater or chorus, or something else.
It shouldn’t be that way, and not only shouldn’t it be that way, we can’t allow it to be that way. Teachers need to be a part of the community where they teach, and fully involved in the range of activities the community has to offer.
Because that’s how we begin the process of pulling communities into re-engagement with their schools. You tell someone, “Oh, I’m not going to be at chorus rehearsal this week; I have to pull together a lesson on Napoleon,” and you discover a fellow tenor is absolutely mad for the history of Napoleon, and would like nothing better than to come in and meet your students and talk about the short French general.
You’re correcting papers in the coffee house one Saturday, and the nice lady who occasionally talks math with you wants to teach young people how to write thank you notes, because she’s miffed that kids don’t know how to do that any more. That’s how these things happen — and it requires that we be out and about in the communities where we teach, so that we meet people who are available, interested, and engaged.