Praising the Beast

We asked the captain what course of action he proposed to take toward a beast so large, so terrifying, and unpredictable. He hesitated to answer, and then said judiciously,

“I think I shall praise it.”

Robert Haas. Epigraph to his second book of poems, Praise: 1979

Street sign, Pittsfield, Massachusetts

If you work in a school you get two chances at a new year.  For more than the last half century late summer has been for me  the more significant fresh start.

At PDS this year we opened the first faculty meeting of the year by naming the beast – that fear, threat, anxiety, concern that rose above all others as we contemplated the new school year. We each wrote down our own most compelling professional beast and sealed it in an envelop not to be seen again until next June.

With the beast named we are free to praise it – seeing opportunity, making plans, preparing and rededicating to all the hopes and aspirations that come with the promise of a new school year.

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