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Some years ago, I watched a performance by slam poet Taylor Mali, who is also an educator and independent school graduate. He is perhaps best known for his poem “What Teachers Make.” It’s a funny, irreverent, powerful takedown of the those-who-can’t-do-teach critique and a love letter to teachers everywhere. I hope you enjoy it.

I want to close this year with a more prosaic thank you to our teachers and to all the adults at the school who have had the pleasure of supporting, challenging, inspiring, celebrating, and laughing with these 202 remarkable students. 

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To my colleagues:

Thank you for doing so many things that none of us has done before and doing them joyfully. You helped create a new schedule and then figured out how to teach your subjects in that new structure. You taught students in person and at home — at the same time. You led spirited class discussions at a distance and in masks. You reimagined group work, homework, assessments, exams, theater, music, and athletics. You created community out of Zoom screens, gym floors, and ping pong tables.

Thank you for the late nights, early mornings, weekends, and time away from family.

Thank you for helping me find my way as a new person in this community.

And thank you for keeping the kids at the center. You worked hard to understand students’ concerns and feed their passions. You listened. You cared. You got to know them as people. You became the mentors our kids needed in a tough year.

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When I ask teachers what the hardest thing about this year has been, they don’t point to their own personal sacrifices or challenges. They tell me how much they hate feeling like their students haven’t gotten the teachers’ “best stuff” because of the realities of teaching in a pandemic. That mindset is why our year has gone as well as it has. And it makes me even more excited for the future.

On behalf of all of us here at BUA, we wish you all a healthy, restful summer and look forward to welcoming everybody back in the fall.

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