How Do I Know If I Know Myself?

Knowing Yourself is Hard

Knowing yourself is a complicated goal. We can’t really measure whether we are in touch with ourselves. Of course, there are those we give of indicators of what it might look like to know ourselves, but it is not easy to prove. Also, there are a lot of things in this world to know. Students have curriculum – math, science, English, and so on – to know. Adults have their jobs or careers to understand, taxes to do, kids to raise, finances to balance, just to name a few. So it seems like a lot to ask to ‘know yourself’ on top of all that.

Know Yourself – In SchoolA Maharishi School student practices Transcendental Meditation in Fairfield, Iowa. Photo credit Fotoveda.

We believe the key to preparedness and academic success is to first understand ourselves. We give students the space and tools to learn more about themselves – their innermost nature, passions, strengths, weaknesses, and goals. We believe this is the beginning of the path to real success.

At Maharishi School, meditation is the cornerstone of our unique learning model. Imagine driving through a rainy, stormy night without your headlights working. The road is dark and you have to drive with fear, small mistakes almost guaranteed to happen. That’s what our brains and bodies are like on stress. We use meditation as a tool, one of the ways we equip students for success, to manage stress because stress is ever-present in life. Instead of expecting stress to disappear, we teach our students to manage it for a more balanced life – again, on the path to success.

Research studies show us through neuroplasticity that the mind is not fixed, but expandable. We don’t just fill student’s heads with information, we systematically expand the container of knowledge, the student’s own consciousness. With this expansion, absorbing new ideas becomes simpler, friendships deepen, and you start to understand how you are connected to and interconnected with the world.

Long Story Short…

To answer the question “how do I know if I know myself,” instead ask, “have I taken the time to get to know myself?” If you take time to know yourself, inside and out, you give yourself the space and ability to accomplish your goal – to better understand yourself.

To learn more about our academics or to contact a member of our admissions staff, click here.

To learn more about school events and student life, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Hannah Nichols
Marketing and PR
Maharishi School
hnichols@msae.edu
Fairfield, IA 52556

What Does It Mean to “Think Deeply?”

Think Deeply – What Does It Mean?

As humans, we are all capable of advanced and deep thoughts. It’s part of what makes us human. There have been many different theories or gurus or instructors that show us a way to think more deeply than we previously were able to do. Some people are drawn to one way of deep thinking over the other. Of course, we have our preference too. We love the Transcendental Meditation® (TM) technique.

But! What does it mean to think deeply in terms of school curriculum? How does that change the way we educate our students? What does it mean to corporately, as a group, seek to think deeper? Let’s try to answer these questions.

What Thinking Deeper Means to Us

To us, thinking deeper means going beyond what is happening right now. That means we take time to show the interconnectivity of everything around us. We take time to think past the next assignment, the next class period, the next school year. We think in terms of success far past high school, into adulthood, and even after we are finished living this life.

We want to connect learning to application. What good are our scholastics and achievements if we can’t use them past our classes? This is why we teach Science of Creative Intelligence, an interdisciplinary course that reaches outside the classroom to show how observable and interconnected the things we learn truly are. SCI teaches our students that math isn’t just equations but the rhythm by which the earth shifts, the birds sing, and flowers bloom. It shows us that chemistry isn’t something that exists within a test tube but is found in life itself, all around us. Students make connections between all the surface details and the big ideas.
We have a saying, “stretched not stressed,” for our students. We want to see them challenged, to set expectations for themselves, then to exceed those expectations. We provide opportunities for this in our rigorous AP exams and Honors classes.

In SCI classes, students learn that the laws of real-world science are the same laws that guide human growth. For example, one of the principles is: Every action has a reaction. In science, we see this in literally everything. If temperatures rise on our planet, that means drastic changes for many species. A small change in one part of the world can lead to a ripple effect globally as in the butterfly effect. In the same way, every action has a reaction in our lives. The words we use, the actions we take, and the education we embrace all have an effect. By understanding this principle in depth, students see the power they carry and are able to better understand the mechanics of not only the physical world but also the mechanics of their behavior and life. They learn these simple but powerful truths starting in Kindergarten and continue to find them useful and visible throughout their lives.

Thinking Deeply Into the Future

More than anything, we want to prepare our students to weather the storms their lives will present and to come out on the other side successful, resilient, and better prepared for next time. Whatever goals our students set for themselves – college, career, life – we believe the depths of their thoughts and the ability to live a balanced life will be their launching point for success.

To learn more about our academics or to contact a member of our admissions staff, click here.

To learn more about school events and student life, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Hannah Nichols
Marketing and PR
Maharishi School
hnichols@msae.edu
Fairfield, IA 52556

Pranav’s Success – Iowa Regional Junior Science and Humanities Symposium

Background of JSHS

During the first week of March, students from across the state of Iowa attended the Iowa Regional Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS), hosted by the Belin-Blank Center at the Marriott Hotel in Coralville, Iowa on March 5-6, 2018. Pranav Chhaliyil of Maharishi School participated in JSHS.

JSHS is a collaborative effort with the research arm of the Department of Defense and is designed to challenge, engage, and publicly recognize high school students conducting scientific research in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM). JSHS aims to prepare and support students to contribute as future scientists and engineers – conducting STEM research on behalf of, or directly for, the Department of Defense, the Federal research laboratories, or for the greater good in advancing the nation’s scientific and technological progress.

Students completed an original research project and submitted a research paper to the regional competition. The authors of the top 18 papers were invited to compete for scholarships and recognition by presenting their results before a panel of judges and an audience of their peers. Students also toured various labs and facilities at the University of Iowa to hear about cutting-edge research, potential career paths, and student opportunities.

More About Pranav

After an intensive day of presentations, the judges had the difficult task of selecting five finalists based on their research papers and presentations. Pranav Chhaliyil of Maharishi School placed third in the Regional JSHS competition. State awards:

 

  • The top five finalists at the Iowa Regional JSHS were awarded academic scholarships and were invited to attend an expense-paid trip to the 54th Annual National Symposium.
  • The Academy of Applied Science distributed $2,000 for first place, $1,500 for second place, and $1,000 for third place at the Iowa Regional Symposium.
  • The University of Iowa awarded $750 scholarships to each of the five Iowa finalists.

The top five finalists at the Iowa Regional Symposium attended an all-expense-paid trip to the 56th National JSHS Symposium which was conducted at Huntsville, Maryland from May 3-6 to present their research and competed for additional prizes.

Pranav’s project was “Metagenomics Analysis of Bedtime Oral Cleaning by the Novel GIFT Method, Shows a Reduction in Dental-Damaging Bacteria”.
Individual students compete for scholarships and recognition by presenting the results of their original research efforts before a panel of judges and an audience of their peers. Opportunities for hands-on workshops, panel discussions, career exploration, research lab visits and networking are planned. By participating in regional and national symposia, students may participate in a forum honoring individual achievement in STEM and qualify for significant scholarships and other recognition. A total of $192,000 in undergraduate tuition scholarships is presented to the top three finalists in the National Symposium research paper oral competition in each of the subject categories.

About the experience of sharing his findings, Pranav said,“I presented a poster which combined my findings from past three years of research on the oral microbiome. The judges, students, and the general public at the Nationals JSHS were very fascinated and liked the value of my research. The main purpose of my research is to bring awareness on Dental Hygiene, and I’m glad I was able to do that at the competition.
The Nationals JSHS was an amazing experience for me. I was so happy to represent Iowa and meet so many wonderful students with the same interest as me, Science. It was an eye-opening experience for me. I loved presenting to my judges who appreciated my work and motivated me. There were inspiring speeches from people working in the Army and helping the nation through scientific research.

I enjoyed making friends with the bright minds there. There were so many ideas and projects that truly inspired me. I enjoyed spending time my friends and studying with them as well. I loved sharing about my Fairfield community. They were very impressed by Transcendental Meditation and wished they had it at their schools. I am grateful to Maharishi School for their support. Dr. Richard Beall, Ms. Laurie Bauman, Ms. Barbara Hays, and all my teachers who have been a great support and inspiration throughout the years.”

Written by Pranav K. Chhalliyil.

To learn more about our academics or to contact a member of our admissions staff, click here.

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Hannah Nichols
Marketing and PR
Maharishi School
hnichols@msae.edu
Fairfield, IA 52556

School Safety – It’s Important To Us Too

School Safety

In the last decade, school safety has become an increasingly relevant topic. Schools are going to great lengths to ensure their students’ safety in the event of an emergency. Maharishi School is no exception to that effort.

Recently, our students have been working alongside our faculty and staff to improve school safety and security. We are proud to have our students who leadership on this front because they are a critical part of the school safety process. They are critical players because they are likely to be the ones to report any suspicious and unsafe behavior. We want them to feel empowered in their own safety efforts.

Police Chief Visits Maharishi School

In an effort to support and improve communication with our local law enforcement, Police Chief David Thomas visited our school. Thomas shared their initiatives to improve the community’s relationship with law enforcement, school safety, and public safety. He opened the conversation up to allow students to ask questions and participate in the conversation.

One student asked “What defines ‘threatening a school?'” Thomas responded by outlining a zero-tolerance policy that includes investigation and threat assessment.

Thomas also spoke about the training he and the local law enforcement provide to school staff members. One student asked for more information on that training. Thomas answered by explaining some training and resources they provide to school staff, task force assembly, and preparedness in the event of an emergency.

Thomas said in the event of an emergency, “We’re coming, and it’s going to be over quickly.” He elaborated that students would have to stay in their designated safe places for awhile, but a threat would be dealt with swiftly. Police Thomas

To make sure both students and staff had an accurate perspective on the likeliness of a school shooter situation or other school threat, Thomas compared these events to the danger of driving to and from school. He said he worried more about his daughter driving than he ever did about a school shooter. That comparison was helpful because it addressed the nervousness around school emergencies.

Dr. Beall followed up with addressing some of the students’ concerns about school safety. Previously, our students had organized themselves to outline some of their concerns and present them to Dr. Beall. Dr. Beall took time to acknowledge those concerns and speak to the improvements and headway being made on the students’ request.

In all, we were grateful for Police Chief Thomas’s presence at the school. He was well received and helped continue the conversation and efforts to make our school as safe as possible and to help everyone within our halls feel as prepared as possible.

 

To learn more about our academics or to contact a member of our admissions staff, click here.

To learn more about school events and student life, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Hannah Nichols
Marketing and PR
Maharishi School
hnichols@msae.edu
Fairfield, IA 52556

What Does it Mean to be a Team?

 

What is a team?

Most people would describe a team as something that would resemble their high school football team. They aren’t wrong, however, teams also look like the group of people you work with, the committee of people you volunteer with, or any group of people working together toward one goal. For students, that might mean their speech team or people they’re working with on a project or anything along those lines. However we define a team, the reality is that most of us cannot avoid teamwork, regardless of age. This makes the ability to work as a team a valuable skill to have.

Why be part of a team?

Have you or your child ever struggled in a team setting? Maybe they had a hard time finding a role they could fill on their soccer team when they were five. Maybe they clashed with a coach. Maybe they preferred working alone on projects or got frustrated when the whole group wasn’t sharing an equal workload. These are difficult complications of teamwork. It makes us want to give up, quit, or just do the whole project ourselves so we don’t have to fuss over anyone else. But, what if the most important part of teamwork is that push and pull? What if even more than the grade or winning or outcome, coming up against the challenges of teamwork was the most important thing about working together?

There are a lot of advantages to succeeding alone: set your own goals, plan it out yourself, no need to coordinate schedules, the burden of success or failure is all your own. Working in a group setting comes with a whole new layer of responsibility, struggle, and balance. Through that layer of complication, we have to learn to work with and alongside people we don’t like, don’t agree with, and don’t really want to work with. Evenmoreso, we win or lose with those people. There is no other setting we can, with others, learn to celebrate our success and mourn our loss than in some form of teamwork.

Losing, in particular, is hard. When we lose as a team, we try to find who to blame:

“I should have played more; we would have won.”

“I should have been in charge of designing our project. We would have gotten a better grade.”

“She’s terrible at drawing. I don’t know why they let her do it and not me.”

“Had I been in charge, things would have turned out better.”

“He is a terrible boss. I should have gotten that promotion. I would do a better job.”

None of these thoughts are original. We all try to figure what went wrong, why we lost, or whose fault it was. It’s normal. It is hard to be judged as an entity, especially if you don’t get to pick who else is in that group, instead of as an individual. When we are judged or measured as an individual, we have control over that. We are able to control ourselves and, therefore, the outcome. If nothing else when we fail on our own, we know whose fault it is.

When we lose as a team, we have to accept the unknown. We have to realize some things are out of our control. We have to realize that even though we tried our best, some things might not go our way, we might not get the recognition we deserve, and we might be blamed for things that weren’t our fault. Even as adults, this is something we have to deal with. Maybe we work with a team at our place of employment and one team member slows down progress or maybe we don’t like a colleague who doesn’t pull their weight around the office. Whatever the case, regardless of age, teamwork is not going away so we might as well have the skills to navigate that reality.

Guess how to gain and improve that skill set needed to navigate teamwork? Yep, you have to work as a team.

Are there benefits to being part of a team?

Of course, there are benefits to working as a team. The idea of teamwork is a great solution when a project is too big for one person, when a sport can’t be played with only one participant, when more can be accomplished more quickly with multiple people, etc. However, the biggest benefit of working in a group is just learning how to do that, is just the act of working together regardless of all other variables. Whether it be a tennis team, golf team, football team, speech team, robotics team, or team at work, there is value in the experience of working together. Win together, lose together, but most of all, try together.

To learn more about our academics or to contact a member of our admissions staff, click here.

To learn more about school events and student life, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Hannah Nichols
Marketing and PR
Maharishi School
hnichols@msae.edu
Fairfield, IA 52556

We Are All Connected

We’re All Connected to Everything 

You might not be surprised that we are all connected. There are lots of theories about the depths of our connectivity. For example, one of the most famous theories of connectivity is the Six Degrees of Separation. This theory states that everything within the world, specifically people, are connected within six steps of “friend to friend” statements. However, we are also connected to more than just people; we are connected to the air we breathe, the animals that existed far before we were born, and the ecosystem we exist within.

Biosphere 2

Have you heard of “Biosphere 2?” If not, you should definitely listen to Jane Poynter, one of the individuals who lived in Biosphere 2, talk more about it and the impact each tiny part of the biosphere had on everything around it. In short, Biosphere 2 was an all-inclusive ecosystem that several human beings agreed to live inside for two years. Biosphere provided a way for us to measure the impacts each action had on the environment inside the Biosphere. Evenmoreso, Biosphere 2 allowed us to measure the impacts each action in Biosphere 1 had on everything else in Biosphere 1. Well, guess what Biosphere 1 is? Earth! Earth is Biosphere 1, and all of us have signed up to live inside this ecosystem indefinitely. So, isn’t it worthwhile to understand our impact on that ecosystem?

The Wolves

One example of the connectivity of everything on earth is the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park. Not too long ago, the trees and grass and every growing thing within the park were dying. Why? Because the deer kept eating it, then the birds were leaving, the water changed the way it flowed, the beavers left, and so on. Every part of the park’s ecosystem was changing and not for the better. Enter the wolves. The wolves, as wolves will do, started killing some of the deer. Because the deer were now being hunted, they began to avoid sections of the park where they were the easily targeted. This allowed the vegetation in those areas of the park to begin to grow again. Soon, other life returned to the park; the beavers returned, the birds came back, and so on. Most interestingly, even the water within the park changed how it flowed which impacted life inside the park in a lot of ways. To learn more about the full extent to which wolves impacted the ecosystem of Yellowstone National Park, listen to George Monbiot talk about it here.

Our Breath

Arguably one of the coolest things learned from the Biosphere 2 experiment is to what extent our breath impacts our environment. If you haven’t already, seriously go listen to Jane talk about Biosphere 2. While in the biosphere, the participants began to run out of oxygen to breathe. Eventually, they discovered it was due to the cement in the biosphere. However, this discovery shows that even the breath we breathe has an impact on the space around us, the ecosystem, and the entire earth.

Breath is the beginning of what connects us all, impacts us all and everything that surrounds us. Though breath seems insignificant, it begins a chain reaction that has effects centuries from now. From this truth, we can assume that our breath has the power to do more than change our environment; it has the power to change lives.

So remember this, each breath we take matters. If not to us, then to everything that surrounds us.

-This post was inspired by TED Radio Hour, “Everything Is Connected,” published FRIDAY, APRIL 13, 2018.

 

To learn more about our academics or to contact a member of our admissions staff, click here.

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Hannah Nichols
Marketing and PR
Maharishi School
hnichols@msae.edu
Fairfield, IA 52556

Do Students and Teachers Feel Safe in Their Schools Across the U.S.?

 

The School Safety Conversation

If you have turned on the news, checked social media, or even listened to a conversation next to you at your local coffee shop, you know school safety is on everyone’s minds. It’s definitely on our minds. You can read more about our ongoing safety efforts here, but let’s talk about the nation’s school safety crisis.

Do Students Feel Safe in School?

We love that people find Maharishi School to send their kids to a safe school. However, wouldn’t it be amazing it all schools were safe? We think so! So, let’s talk about this school safety issue. First, let’s talk about whether or not kids feel safe in their schools.

“According to CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), nearly 8% of students had been in a physical fight on school property one or more times during the 12 months before the survey. Nationwide, about 6% of students had not gone to school at least 1 day during the 30 days before the survey because they felt they would be unsafe at school or on their way to or from school” (CDC).

Wow! That’s a national issue, one that teachers across the U.S. are addressing. But let’s focus on the teachers in Oklahoma.

“The teachers walking out of classrooms in Oklahoma this week are asking for an overhaul of a system whose needs have been evolving for decades. The statistics are alarming: education funding per student in the state has been cut by twenty-eight per cent in the past ten years, the largest cuts of any state in the country, and twenty per cent of the state’s schools are in session only four days a week, because of the lack of funds. Schools have struggled to keep qualified teachers, many of whom leave for states with higher pay, and classes are taught by a string of emergency-certified teachers and short-term substitutes” (The New Yorker).

We support the teachers in Oklahoma, marching for the the safety of their students and improvement of their school systems across the state, echoing across the United States.

A few weeks ago, our students displayed support for the victims of the Florida high school shooting that killed 17. They discussed ways to improve school safety amongst themselves. They also observed a moment of silence to honor the victims of the shooting.

While we are happy to have a safe school, we also always want to continue to do better. Our kids deserve it; all kids deserve it.

To learn more about our academics or to contact a member of our admissions staff, click here.

To learn more about school events and student life, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Hannah Nichols
Marketing and PR
Maharishi School
hnichols@msae.edu
Fairfield, IA 52556

Safety Efforts in Maharishi School

Safety in Our School
At Maharishi School, we take safety very seriously. Our Head of School, Dr. Beall, has been doing some reflecting on our efforts. Here is something he wrote to summarize our safety projects.
Dr. Beall Talks About School Safety
“Here—in my hotel room in Shanghai, China—the young voices rang loud and clear. 
 
CNN coverage of the March for Our Lives included students’ comments from across the country, urging safer conditions for our schools. 
 
Hopefully every politician—and school administrator—will do their part to restore our students’ trust that their safety is our highest priority.  
 
I wanted to update you on the initiatives underway at Maharishi School. To create a single entry system, we are preparing to move the Central Office to the room by the assembly hall door. We will install a large window with visibility of the sidewalk and the parking area. At a designated time each morning, after most students have arrived, we will lock the main entrance (by the international flags) and the Foster Hall entrance. 
 
To prevent people from simply walking around Foster Hall to the courtyard, we will also install a fence from the northwest corner of Foster to the vastu fence. 
 
That is just the beginning. We expect to install a video surveillance system and are researching ways to lock the exterior doors more quickly. The Preschool has added some new responses, and we will continue to explore ways to secure that unique area. 
 
We are working in collaboration with the Co-Directors of MUM Security Beata Nacsa and Rig Gelfand and they are fully supportive of these actions. We would like to invite Fairfield Police and Homeland Security officials onto campus to conduct training sessions for our staff members. 
 
As I have said before, we never take for granted the trust you invest in us each day when you drop off your children at Maharishi School. We will continue our efforts to enhance our security while sustaining the special feeling of serenity that has always characterized our school. 
 
Please feel free to send your comments: rbeall@msae.edu.

To learn more about our academics or to contact a member of our admissions staff, click here.

To learn more about school events and student life, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Hannah Nichols
Marketing and PR
Maharishi School
hnichols@msae.edu
Fairfield, IA 52556

What are Advanced Techniques?

Maharishi School and Advanced Meditation Techniques

At Maharishi School, we practice a form of meditation called the Transcendental Meditation technique®, or TM. To transcend, by definition, means to go beyond human limitations and to break boundaries. At Maharishi School, we teach you a technique to break internal boundaries and to sink deep into yourself, to tap into your essence and live in a state of flow. Here, we believe that all parts of ourselves should be developed – the body, mind, heart and consciousness – therefore the practice of TM is required for all students. Our school day starts and ends with a few minutes of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique.

The TM technique is a simple technique that is easily taught through one-on-one instruction by a certified teacher. It’s not a religion, philosophy or lifestyle. More than 340 scientific studies have been published in leading journals showing its efficacy in all areas of physical and mental health. It’s garnered the praise of distinguished institutions like the National Health Institute, American Psychological Association, University of Michigan, and American University.

To learn more, visit www.TM.org.

The Details About Advanced Techniques

Sometimes, we talk about Advanced Techniques, but that can be a confusing term. Below are some commonly asked questions, and their answers, about the Advanced Techniques.

Q: What are Advanced Techniques?
A: Simple techniques that accelerate growth. During TM®, we experience a fourth state of consciousness, a state of restful alertness, which dissolves stress, enhances brain functioning, and balances the body and emotions. The Advanced Techniques speed up the integration of this state with our activity after meditation; they bring faster results from your regular TM practice.
In fact, Maharishi said they accelerate growth to higher states of consciousness. He said that they bring about a more efficient absorption of pure consciousness into the active mind than TM does by itself.

Q: How many are there?
A: Four — all developed and refined by Maharishi over many years. The first is called the Night Technique and it is done before sleep. The second, third, and fourth Advanced Techniques are simple procedures that you effortlessly incorporate into your 20-minute TM practice.

Q: Do I learn them all at once or one at a time?
A: One at a time and in sequence. You’ll practice an Advanced Technique at least two to four months before adding the next one.

Q: Who teaches the Advanced Techniques?
A: International Vedic Experts from India who have been specially trained by Maharishi. These experts come to Fairfield TM Center every month to teach the Advanced Techniques.

Q: What is the course structure?
A: Your training consists of three sessions.
The first session is an orientation meeting for an hour.
The second session is personal instruction with the Vedic Expert in the appropriate Advanced Technique (2 hours).
The third session is a checking meeting the following day with the Vedic Experts to answer questions and verify the correctness of your practice (2 hours).

Q: Who can learn, and how do I know if I am ready?
A: If you have been regular with your TM practice for the last two to four months, you are eligible to apply. You do not have to be a long-time or “advanced” meditator to learn an Advanced Technique. Each technique is simple—easy to learn, easy to practice—and, best of all, enjoyable! That said, if you’d like our advice regarding your personal readiness, just give us a call. 641-919-8188 or 641-919-1300

Q: What is the fee? (per course)
A: The fee for an Advanced Technique is as follows:
Adults: 4 payments of $240 (or one payment of $960)
Couples: 4 payments of $420 (or one payment of $1,680)
Full-time TM teachers, MUM & Maharishi School & Full-Time Staff: $360
Full-time MUM students: $240
Full-time Maharishi School students (thru high school): $240
Grants and scholarships may be available for qualified meditators. Please just give us a call to talk more about your financing options. 641-919-8188 or 641-919-1300

Q: How do I begin?
A: Please contact us for information about one of the orientation meetings by email at wdevasier@tm.org or olgahopkins@gmail.com or call 641-919-8188 or 641-919-1300. If the orientation meeting times don’t work for you, let us know and we will find another time to meet with you.

To learn more about our academics or to contact a member of our admissions staff, click here.

To learn more about school events and student life, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Hannah Nichols
Marketing and PR
Maharishi School
hnichols@msae.edu
Fairfield, IA 52556

The Parent-Teacher Struggle and a Solution

The Struggle

There is an age-old struggle that anyone who has ever attended school or been a parent of a person who attended school is familiar with. No, not the struggle between good and evil, that’s for another blog post, but the struggle between parents and teachers, which ends up being a struggle between good and good. The struggle between parents and teachers tends to be a break down of communication. Thankfully, here at Maharishi School, we think we have the solution.

I am going to give you a few scenarios. You let me know if any of these sound familiar.

“What?! This project is due tomorrow?! Why is this the first time I am hearing that you need 37 different colored pencils, 4 rolls of aluminum foil, and 2 bags of light green, fake moss?” Then you spend the next 3 hours going to every store within reasonable driving distance (read 1.5 hours radius) that MIGHT have fake moss.

“What do you mean you have only been wearing one shoe to school for the last 6 months?”

“Honey, I just got an email inviting me to a student art showcase this Friday. In the email is says it is YOUR WORK BEING SHOWCASED! How is this the first time I am hearing about this?”

Any of that ring any bells? Yeah, me too. Sounds pretty familiar.

The Solution

Well, we decided it was time to strengthen the communication between teachers and parents because we are all on the same team here. We want our students to succeed. You want your kids to be passionate, to do well in school, to be well adjusted, and to have the ability to dream big and achieve those dreams. So that gave us an idea. What do teachers and parents have in common? THE STUDENTS! Our overlap is our students, your kids – one in the same. We concluded that the solution to the communication break down was the students. This probably isn’t a surprise to anyone. We put notes in kids’ backpacks. We send them home with information to pass along to their parents. Etc. But what if we put the students in charge of the information? What if we let the students decide the most important parts of what they are learning? What if we let the students decide where they are struggling each quarter? What if we enabled the students, gave them the proper tools and supported them, to be in charge of their own information?

Student-Led Conferences This the the paradigm shift that brought us to Student-Led Conferences. In student-led conferences, students, parents, and teachers meet together to discuss what the student has picked out. They talk about successes and failures, triumphs and the lessons they learned; they set goals and plan to reach them. To read more about our most recent Student-Led Conferences, click here.

Although this is still a learning experience for us and there are still improvements to be made, we think this is the road to a solution. When we give our kids the power and ability to be take responsibility, we continually see them live up to their own expectations (because they set the expectations) and go beyond. Student-Led Conferences encourage students to self-regulate, to self-adjust, and to communicate. Let’s just say that again: our kids COMMUNICATE! That includes our quiet teenagers too. Read some of our parent and student experiences here.

Empower Our Kids

Our solution boils down to the idea that we don’t want to demand our students to comply with the things we ask them to do; instead, we empower them to put value on things that are important to them and communicate that value to the people around them. Isn’t that an important skill set to have? We believe this empowerment leads to our students’ success because it let’s them decide what ignited their passion, let’s them focus on that passion, and allows them to plan a path to their own success. From the beginning, they took ownership of their own success. That’s powerful.

To learn more about our academics or to contact a member of our admissions staff, click here.

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Hannah Nichols
Marketing and PR
Maharishi School
hnichols@msae.edu
Fairfield, IA 52556