Are BS Teacher Spread too Thin?

<p>My S is returning to BS soon. Last year he worked with an enthused teacher to revive an academic club (robotics), however, teacher has left. So S wrote to dept head and other teachers over the summer to try to ensure a replacement for the program, which also had good student interest. We (parents) also talked to school to try to make sure he has this outlet. BS says they have no one so far to take this on and will keep looking. I understand BS faculty wear many hats and balance lots of interests and objectives, but we count on the school meeting his intellectual pursuits (this is not the pie eating or movie lovers club) and making sure he has opportunities. Before I get very frustrated, do others have ideas on how to help school step up or what we might suggest to encourage the school to find/allocate a resource?</p>

<p>I DO think BS teachers can be spread too thin - teaching, coaching, advising, as well as overseeing clubs - not to mention raising their own families. </p>

<p>Perhaps your son can contact some new faculty members coming in this year? Does the school utilize teaching fellows? Often they are young, energetic and single which means they are looking to keep busy and don't have children of their own to tend to yet.</p>

<p>Are there any parents of day students who are engineers? Or, engineer parents of local boarders who can commit to visiting the school regularly? </p>

<p>A quick internet search led me to this company: Robotics</a> Club. Here's their page on robotics clubs: <a href="http://www.3erobotics.com/Resources/Members/Robotics_Club_Host.pdf%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.3erobotics.com/Resources/Members/Robotics_Club_Host.pdf&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>They claim that any adult can lead the club. If your son and his friends are sufficiently motivated, they could teach themselves, perhaps?</p>

<p>I know that there are interscholastic competitions. I'm not certain that this is a "boarding school thing" yet. When I tried to search for robotics on the TABS website, I couldn't find the option. Andover and Exeter have teams, so it is not entirely unknown.</p>

<p>My advice is to give faculty an idea of how much time they will be expected to give to the club and in what role. Your S should be upfront about what his expectations are. Are the students looking for some instruction or someone who shares a passion, but is not necessarily an expert? How often will the club meet and is the adviser expected to attend? Are there obligations, such as competitions that will require travel? These will certainly important factors when finding an adviser. </p>

<p>When I was in school many of my clubs were very independent of our adviser. They came to the occasional meeting, but were there to support not lead. If your S is looking for a more casual adviser, look outside the typical people. That cool English teacher might be interested in robotics or just willing to lend a hand.</p>

<p>I've also found that teachers at BS are more receptive when students do a lot of the legwork. Encourage your S to follow up with teachers, the department, and others. Be patient. Sometimes teachers want to get settled and figure out whether they have the time for another club or not.</p>

<p>Perhaps your S could also ask the spouse of a teacher living on campus? One may actually want to make a connection with some students.</p>

<p>I want to start with the idea of the school being required to maintain a program. This is where the rubber meets the road about the student's ability to think outside of the box.</p>

<p>My daughter was a member of a top debating team. The teacher retired and another teacher who wanted the job (she was a coach of a rival team) was blocked by her principal from transferring. So the students found a community volunteer to take on the role. </p>

<p>Are teacher's spread too thin? Think about it - they serve as the parents and guardians in absentia. They have their own lives, families, bills, hobbies etc. In addition to the academic and sometimes sports loads they have to take on.</p>

<p>The key (and I know you didn't mean it this way) to getting the school to act is to not make it seem like it is an entitlement. Drop the language such as:</p>

<p>
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I understand BS faculty wear many hats and balance lots of interests and objectives, but we count on the school meeting his intellectual pursuits (this is not the pie eating or movie lovers club) and making sure he has opportunities.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Had I been an administrator - that statement would have dropped the request to the bottom of the priority list. There is more than just mentoring. There is coordinating tournaments, scheduling transportation, arranging for materials, paperwork, etc. Clubs that compete are not benign entities and aren't guaranteed parts of the BS package.</p>

<p>I like the suggestions offered here. How much time should the adult spend? Is there a grad student in a nearby college that could be the mentor? Or a community group?</p>

<p>BTW - If your son can figure this out without a lot of parent involvement - he's well on the way to a killer college essay.</p>