My name is Will Gibbs and I teach Middle School Social Studies. I start each day walking my son to his Pre-K classroom. George loves Episcopal Pre-K because of the care and attention he gets in the small group setting. I feel lucky that I get to work on the same campus as where my son spends his day – not only because I am close by if he needs me, but because it means I get to spend time with him at pick-up and drop-off. These moments are the highlights of my day.
Each school day begins with homeroom. Homeroom provides me the opportunity for a brief check-in with my advisees and gives students the chance to prepare for their day. Attendance is taken, announcements are read, and the kids are ready for their first class.
The majority of my day is in the classroom. Since my four Middle School history classes range from 12-15 students, I have ample opportunity to work with each individual to ensure they have every opportunity to succeed.
Many EA teachers have transformed their classes into innovative spaces. With alternative seating like high top tables and a lounge area, my classroom is a comfortable place where the student-centered approach doesn’t require rows of desks facing a teacher.
Every other day, the Middle school congregates in Chapel. We are treated to guest speakers, student plays, and lessons. When Middle Schoolers don’t have Chapel, they meet with teachers for Office Hours for homework help, test prep, and more. This powerful addition to our schedule shows Episcopal’s commitment to individual attention to students.
At Episcopal, teachers play many roles. One of the most important is that of an advisor. As an advisor, I meet with a small group of students every morning, and every six days during activity block. I make sure they’re on track with their academics, athletics, and extra-curricular activities. Advisory allows educators to act as true advocates for their students. Advisors are support systems that connect students to campus resources, and helping hands in navigating through Middle School’s challenges and opportunities.
In addition to my regular course load, I also teach an elective course on Meditation during our Z Block elective period. In Episcopal’s Middle School, a vast array of electives are offered to give students a break from the typical curriculum and enable them to take ungraded and unique courses. Our Electives provide Middle Schoolers with the opportunity to diversify their studies and broaden their academic horizons.
In the Tierney Dining Hall, many of the fresh, healthy foods we enjoy are organic or locally-sourced. Teachers and students have ample salad, sandwich, and entrée options, including occasional custom food stations. Because teachers and students use a communal dining hall, lunch gives me the opportunity to catch up with my colleagues, discuss campus news, or even chat with students about their academic progress.
After lunch, I head back across campus to the Middle School to teach my afternoon classes.
Though the school day ends at 3 p.m., my day is far from over. Because EA offers a robust athletics program, many teachers take on coaching roles. I have been an assistant coach for our varsity boys lacrosse team for 8 years. I also coach Middle School Girls Squash in our world class, 10-court Madiera Squash Pavilion. Coaching is extremely rewarding. Not only does it feed my lifelong passion for the sport, but it also allows me to see firsthand the importance of athletics in the development of young people.