It is amazing to witness the Tabor community in full creativity mode! Whether working from home or on vacation, our faculty are already well into planning what the Tabor Experience will look like in the weeks ahead. In a note to the faculty, our Assistant Head for Academic Affairs, Eileen Marceau, asked the rhetorical question: What’s the difference between an ordeal and an adventure? One’s attitude!
The common attitude among Tabor faculty is a deep care and commitment to students, and we are seeing that in countless ways across school areas already. Faculty and students have spent the past seven months building durable relationships, useful knowledge, and transferable skills, and in the weeks ahead these cornerstones will allow our connected and creative learning community to flourish, all from a distance!
The academic experience at Tabor has always been - and will continue to be - about fostering student agency. Our faculty’s commitment to professional learning serves this pursuit in countless ways, most recently during Trimester 2 exam week. When Global Online Academy (GOA) offered a “Designing for Online Learning” course, many faculty embraced the opportunity. When it was offered a second week, another cohort of faculty jumped in. And when a third offering of the GOA week-long course went live, still more Tabor faculty said Yes! The result is that between our already experienced online/distance educators and our recently immersed faculty, our conversations and conceptions of “what might be” have been positively dynamic and will surely continue to inform our programs and perspectives long after we return to the shores of Sippican Harbor. The distance learning experience will be quintessentially Tabor: student centered, relevant, and future-focused!
From athletics this morning, we learned that Brian Torres, Assistant Director of Athletics and affectionately known to students as “Coach B,” will be sharing a workout of the day with Tabor students across the platform Teambuildr. As people hunker down at home, it is not too much of a stretch to believe that couch-potato-itis might set in! This will be a great way to keep our community physically engaged and our teams in touch. Our students can also follow ta_strength on Instagram and share their workouts as a way to encourage group exercise.
Our Counseling Services are also there for our community, just as always. Dan Petrocelli, Director of Counselling, will be providing a Weekly Wellness Newsletter for our students and their families. This will be a very simple tip sheet to provide some guidance and ways to take advantage of our new circumstances. Dan hopes it will be ready early next week, so keep an eye out for this everything-counseling resource in the days ahead. Also, advisor check-ins will be important.
Connection, of course, is critical for learning - whether on campus or at a distance. We are planning to use MyTA, Google Drive, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom to continue learning together - independently and interdependently - for our courses, advisories, dorm meetings, clubs, and other discussions. We are exploring all the ways this might best work for our international students and those in different time zones. Augmenting the natural rhythms and routines of night owls and early birds, many of the platforms have ways to record sessions to be reviewed later.
Teachers have already begun setting up their learning teams (class rosters), advisory teams, and the creative juices are flowing! Classes will blend the benefits of independent assignments, collaborative discovery, and personal reflection, using the online distance-learning platforms referenced earlier. We expect this will be a fun time to connect and learn together. Mrs. Marceau summed up the opportunity before us perfectly: “This chapter is going to be a great learning adventure for us, and we’ll emerge better for it. This is life-long learning at its best, and we’re going to make it work, together!”
Here we go, Seawolves, here we go!