Day 5: A typical boarding school Saturday

Today was one of those Saturdays fairly unique to the life of a boarding school teacher—a dozen different little activities, each fun and fulfilling, but in taken together, exhausting.

We started with a new tradition at my school—an environmental orientation. We cancelled Saturday morning classes and offered the students a variety of morning activities that got them out exploring the campus—kayaking on a local river, gardening in the organic gardening, doing yoga on the T-dock next to the pond, or in my case, touring a 1720’s era farmhouse and the surrounding lands.

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One of the activities hung wonderful new swings in two trees int he front of the school, which are sure to be great for some physics experiments.

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After that, we broke into small groups to discuss drafting the school’s sustainability strategic plan, and I led the group of students and faculty discussing energy and reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. The group had a number of great ideas, from equipping each student with a powers trip that he/she can use to turn off all of the appliances in a room, creating biodiesel from the waste cooking oil, and replacing some of the gasoline powered carts on campus with electric vehicles.

Later in the afternoon, we had our first science club meeting, where we got our 3d printer working, and printed our first stretchy bracelet.

We spent most of the meeting having fun with some liquid nitrogen we got from a local university (note: Many physics departments are often willing to loan high schools dewars and liquid nitrogen free of change).

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Now it was evening, and time for the most bizarre and wonderful of traditions, the Frosty Run. We load up the entire school (300 students) into buses and send them off to 3 area Wendy’s restaurants. The kids wait in line for a single Frosty and just hang out, cleaning the restaurant back to spotless shape and offering a big tip to the restaurant staff for putting up with their chaos for an hour. This year, we tried to be a bit more sustainable and even brought our own spoons, saving a couple of pounds of plastic from the landfill.

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We got back at 9pm, just in time for some wandering around duty on campus before driving a shuttle to the local WAWA convenience store for an hour to end the night.

Exhausting, for sure, but I don’t think I’d want it any other way.

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About John Burk

The ramblings of a physics teacher.
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