"What's Not in the Brochures," by Dean of Faculty Maura Sullivan
People who choose teaching as a profession do so for a variety of reasons. Among those are love of a certain discipline, a desire to help shape the lives of young people, the appeal of being able to combine certain interests together (e.g., being a teacher as well as a coach), and hopefully, above all else, a love of working with children. Most people do not think about the hard moments when they make the decision to work in education. You don’t consider the lesson plan that might bomb or the student who could push your buttons, and you certainly do not think about counseling young people through tragedies. That fine print is never found in the job description.
When your child first applied to Nobles, you likely attended an admission open house, had a tour of the school, and read through all of the brochures. Those experiences undoubtedly gave you good insight into what we deem important: getting students outside their comfort zones, the “teacher-coach” model, having a sense of humor, encouraging service to others, etc. What you would not have seen in those brochures are the pictures of the harder days, like those we’ve experienced in the first few weeks of school. The advisor spending their free periods talking with advisees about how they are coping. The English teacher finding the right thing to say to their class after learning of bad news. The math teacher telling a student that they can reschedule a test because they haven’t been sleeping well. If your child is new to Nobles, he/she may not have experienced any of these things yet. However, what I think you will discover, and what any veteran Nobles parent can tell you, is that what makes Nobles special is how adults respond during the hard times.
I have been at Nobles for nearly 30 years. In that time, the moments that stand out to me are those when I’ve watched my colleagues go above and beyond for a student or one another. I have witnessed it firsthand countless times and have also been the recipient of such care. It is part of the “special sauce” of Nobles and one of the main reasons why so many of us have stayed for so long.
All that you have read in our admission brochures is true. The adults in this community are intelligent, energetic and creative. They are also sensitive, empathetic and caring. They spend long days at school teaching, coaching, directing and prepping. The brochures capture all of that. What is not as obvious is the time spent at home answering emails, reaching out to advisees and checking in with colleagues. It’s a job that doesn’t stop when we leave at the end of the day. Similarly, it doesn’t end when the students are off campus, whether on weekends, during summer break, or even after graduation. The student/teacher relationship isn’t something that is activated on a timer. It doesn’t go on at 8 a.m and off again at 5 p.m. The adults at Nobles know students well and become invested in their lives. We celebrate their victories with them, and we share in their sorrows.
The teachers at Nobles may all have had different motivations for going into education. They may have even originally accepted their job at Nobles for some very transactional reasons. But, somewhere along the way, the Nobles experience affects us all in truly transformative ways. If you read between the lines of the brochures, you’ll see it clearly.