Staff Book Club

Throughout the 2023-24 school year, about 10 staff members have been part of a book club. In education speak, we call these groups Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), where faculty and staff can join a working team to discuss specific topics related to school, and our book club PLC was exactly that. Once every two months we would gather over cheese and sparkling water to discuss the selected education-based non-fiction title. Meetings were filled with candid conversations about our interpretations of the author's words, and how we see the theories presented in the chapters practically playing out in our classrooms, hallways, sports fields, and stages. Some books provided more food for fodder than others, but at least one golden nugget was digested from each one. Here is a list of the books that we read this year:

Reclaiming Our Students: Why Children Are More Anxious, Aggressive, and Shut Down Than Ever – And What We Can Do About It by Hannah Beach and Tamara Neufeld Strijack (2020). A great reference tool for educators to support struggling students, for those who would like to integrate the arts into building a healthy learning community, and in general, a great gift for a new teacher about why building relationships with students is so crucial. It re-emphasizes the importance of bringing restorative practices into all that we do – something that we here at KES are good at doing. 

What About Men?: A Feminist Answers the Question by Caitlin Moran. Created lots of conversations among colleagues about the need to continue/start talking to our male students, specifically, about topics like healthy relationships, body image, and role models. This work has already started through workshops organized by our Wellness Team through Moe Green’s program, Guys Work. Our aim would be to continue this work, involving more students in the future.

Inquiry Mindset: Nurturing the Dreams, Wonders, and Curiosities of Our Youngest Learners by Trevor Mackenzie and Rebecca Bathurst-Hunt. A great read for both Junior and Senior School teachers to design and deliver meaningful project-based learning lessons and assessments. We talked about space, time, and motivation, and how to make learning visible.

Grit by Angela Duckworth. A noteworthy work, which had us all questioning our own level of grittiness. One particular passage stuck out as it resonates with our School motto of Be More:

“Before hard work comes play. Before those who’ve yet to fix on a passion are ready to spend hours a day diligently honing skills, they must goof around, triggering, and retriggering interest…even the most accomplished of experts start out as unserious beginners (p 106-107).”

And our last book of the year, The Anxious Generation: How the Great Rewiring of Childhood is Causing an Epidemic of Mental Illness was a brand-new release by Jonathan Haidt, author of The Coddling of the American Mind. His articles in The Atlantic on the topic of social media use by teens have been cause for many schools (like ours) to rethink or re-emphasize their cell phone policies. We will be discussing this book at our final book club on Monday.

If you have any suggestions for next year’s book list, please let me know!

Vanessa Wade
Assistant Head of School, School Life

King’s-Edgehill School is located in Mi'kma'ki, the unceded ancestral territory of the Mi’kmaq People.