To teach at Greenwood Friends School is to be planted in fertile soil. My first year at Greenwood sped by in a whirlwind of activity, with procedures and traditions to learn fresh, but I recognized immediately that I had found a place where I could use every bit of what I had learned in college and in previous teaching positions. Here I found a faculty committed to keeping up with the latest educational practices while staying loyal to the best of the tried and true. Here I found veteran teachers to offer guidance and advice. Here I found educators interested in designing and adapting the curriculum to meet the needs of the students – a true child-centered curriculum. I feel blessed to teach in an environment where academic standards are met through meaningful, hands-on, investigative learning, and where that learning happens across a rich curriculum that includes art, music, and physical education.
In addition to what Greenwood offers me as a teacher, the school provides a deep sense of community, offering support and encouragement personally as well as professionally. At all times, the tight-knit Greenwood staff, faculty and families have been there for me and my family, giving freely of their time and care.
Most remarkable about Greenwood: the kind of student it fosters. More than anywhere else I have experienced, students here ask thoughtful questions, think of others as well as themselves, and value the thoughts and feelings of their peers. By the time they leave us after Middle School, they know they have the power to make a difference and help heal the wounds often inflicted in a careless world. Greenwood students are passionate, often eloquent, and always powerful.
Truly, this is an environment in which one can lay down roots, grow strong and flexible branches, and reach for the sky – whether a friend of the school, a student, a teacher, a parent, or a grandparent. That is why I teach at Greenwood.
Audra dePrisco has taught intermediate grades at Greenwood since 2001. This essay is an adaptation of a talk Audra gave at Greenwood’s Grandparents and Special Friends Day in October 2007.