There are no grades in the Maine woods.

March 2, 2013

Tomorrow morning I head out for a few days on the junior Four Point winter expedition.

Our faculty has meticulously planned and prepared the students for their wilderness experience over the next nine days.

Each student will spend a day and night solo in the mountains, and each will come back changed.

In a 2012 talk (see below), the noted educator, Tony Wagner, said that the only real sense of self-confidence comes from knowing you can recover from failure. He lamented that the current educational model is all about risk aversion and penalizing failure: the student’s job is to figure out what the teacher wants and the teacher’s job is to avoid problems.

The junior Four Point is filled with opportunities for challenges, discomfort, disciplined application of skills, inescapable teamwork, new friendships, and creative responses to the unexpected. Our students will tackle these challenges with the support and mentorship of their teachers – the same people they work with in their dorms and classrooms.

Such an experience forges resilience, agility,  adaptability, teamwork, creativity and compassion. There are no grades, only the satisfaction and growth that come from doing very difficult things, solving problems, taking care of yourself, taking care of others, and contributing to the mission.

I am already proud of them.


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