I love that I work at a school where the question “Are you going to shave this month?” can be asked of me by a student and not seem out of the ordinary.
Today begins the “Make-up Free and Manly Month of March” at San Dieguito, where students and faculty alike have an opportunity to embrace their natural selves and pledge to avoid razors and lipstick for 31 days. It’s the kind of nuttiness that runs in the blood of proud Mustangs, and underscores our willingness to be a little irreverent, albeit with a noble aim; the subtitle for the month is “embrace your authenticity.”
Evidently the authentic me wears a beard.
Along with the question of shaving, just this morning I’ve had conversations with students about time capsules, Holden Caulfield, and spring training. In and of themselves, I know such topics may not carry all that much weight, but taken together I think they point to something pretty important: students feel comfortable talking with adults on campus.
Connections between students and adults on campus matter much. We measure student view on this through our Healthy Kids Survey and we’re proud that the percentage of students who say they have at least one adult they can trust is high. When students know that they are surrounded by adult allies, they have a higher likelihood of being connected to the school, feeling like they aren’t alone, and reporting negative behavior they witness or experience.
Teachers, counselors, classified staff, and even administrators can be these adult allies, and as students know they care, they open up and talk.
Sometimes the topics are serious: depression, stress, conflicts with other students. More often than not, however, students just like to talk. I’m convinced that being able to chat about the little things makes talking about the bigger issues more possible.
This afternoon, walking out on campus at lunch, a student caught me and said: “I read your blog and you like Moon Knight, right?” I nodded. “I just read issue #2.”
We chatted for a while, him about Shalvey, me about Sienkiewicz . There beneath the March sun we were just two moderately dorky fellows united by a costumed superhero.
Tomorrow may be heavy; today I’m thankful to be offering my unshaven opinion on the best run of Moon Knight comics.