Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Year Later

A year ago this week, I ran off my plane in Hartford, rode impatiently on the bus to the Hertz lot, and drove slightly more than 55mph to the Apple store at the Holyoke Mall in Massachusetts. I bought my first iPad. (At that point, we didn’t have them in Canada yet.) With the help of my school tech guys on the phone and the Apple folks in the store, we got it up and running and then downloaded some Ridley photos and video. Next stop: Eaglebrook Fair!

For the first time ever (and most likely last!), I was cool, hip, tech-savvy and cutting edge. Mine was the only iPad in the whole room. Students flocked to my table to play with the iPad. They were utterly fascinated as many had not yet seen one. They had only just come out. But more so than the students, the other admissions directors were spellbound. It took me half an hour to get out of the fair before everyone who wanted to had seen the iPad and how I was using it. It was fun to talk with colleagues about its potential and the strategy my office had for it.

Fast forward to this past week and Eaglebrook 2011. There was a…um….herd? flock? murder? gaggle?...of iPads at the fair. My moment of coolness and being cutting edge was very clearly in the past. Oh well. I took home leftover materials; my table was not so popular, so cool.

Now not that I can take credit for the iPad movement but I am happy to have shared my iPad with colleagues during and after last year’s fair. I think we need to do more of this. I find a disturbing trend towards hyper-competition. If we remember our work is to serve students and schools then we should be willing to help each other out since by doing so we’re helping students and schools.

After eleven years at Chestnut Hill Academy in Philadelphia, I was still the new kid on the block when I left. Admissions directors in the Philadelphia market measure their tenures in decades, not years. The result was a group of seasoned professionals and close colleagues who’d been around long enough to have seen it all. Little rattled this group. You win some. You lose some. Life goes on. I miss that level of support, encouragement and mutual respect. That level of professionalism.

By helping and encouraging one another (or at least not purposely getting in the way!), we elevate the standards of our profession, serve the schools we claim to love, and help students end up in the environment and programme that best suits them.

If that isn’t what it is all about, then I don’t know.

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