Trinity College School

A Culture of Care

Towards the end of the last semester of the 2017-2018 academic year I interviewed six of our Grade 5 students. My intention in doing so was to, in the future, create a video for our faculty and staff that would hopefully identify the strengths of TCS from the perspective of our youngest and newest “recruits.” As adults in the TCS community, while we know we have something special here at TCS, we sometimes struggle to describe succinctly the one or two things that make TCS distinctive and/or that distinguish our learning environment from others. My goal in interviewing the kids was to hopefully capture the School’s essence “from the mouth of babes,” as it were.

Like many experiments, particularly unscientific ones, the outcome can vary from the hypothesis. And, sometimes the conclusion is even better than you imagined. And this was the case on May 21, 2018 between 10:00 and 10:30 a.m.

Over the course of each individual interview with our 10 and 11 year old students, I asked a series of questions about TCS and their experience here to date. I was looking to capture their first impressions on their first day, to their present mood as they concluded their first year. I ended each session by asking what each of them would like to do when they grow up; not that this was tied to the purpose of the interview, but rather, I asked out of general interest. This was the typical question that we were all asked by grown-ups when we were kids. But, it was at this point specifically, where the outcome of the interviews took an unpredicted twist!

Each of the six students identified that when they grew up they wanted to “help other people.”

Now, I would point out that the students had not heard or discussed what their peers had been asked, or their responses. Yet, each student identified, individually, that when he or she got a job later in life they wanted to help people. Not “be famous” or “be a millionaire” or any of a host of other possible responses.

While I have yet to make the video, the impact of the experience has not left me. In fact, I believe caring for other people is the most important thing a human being can do. Caring provides purpose, connection, community, compassion. Caring is at the core of families, friendships, communities. And, caring must be in the molecular structure of schools.

Back to the original purpose of my interviewing exercise: “What makes TCS distinct or distinguishes us from other schools?” To be honest, I have yet to identify a short, snappy response to that question that would completely satisfy students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni, board members, prospective families and friends of the School.

I can assure you, however, that I would choose that a school not be singularly defined by the number of graduate university acceptances, the success of our sports teams, our facilities, or the size of our endowment. Instead, it would be my hope and perpetual goal that our school would distinguish itself by our collective effort to be a kind and caring learning and living community.

Further, and most importantly, I hope that our students would continue to strive, throughout their lifetimes, to be the kind and caring people they were born to be (and as our Grade 5 students tell me, still want to be). By living this way, their lives, their families, their communities and the world will undoubtedly be better for it.

Comments

What a great answer from the kids, especially as it was
given after their first year at TCS.

To nurture and encourage kind, caring people is, to me, a fantastic perpetual goal.

This is especially relevant this week with the news out of St. Mikes. Thanks for sharing!
LM

Stuart, your "project" seems to have been a success !! One might think your personal values have been transmitted by osmosis to the TCS environment. Well done, and how nice to have had such responses from kids in the "JS". The world surely needs such character these days.

Warm regards, Tony

Those Grade 5 kids sure are inspirational! They keep us on our toes.
Thanks for sharing this!

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