Some Faculty Annoyed By Head of School Day’s Random Date; Others Fine

Although students celebrated the announcement of Head of School Day on February 4, not all members of the school community welcomed the surprise holiday. According to minutes of the Advisory Committee (AdCom), published in the Andover Gazette, some faculty members were upset about the apparent randomness of the timing of Head of School Day. Because faculty members were not notified of the date, some had to shift their syllabi and postpone assigned tests. Kevin Cardozo, Chair of the Chemistry Department, was not concerned with the complaints raised in the AdCom minutes. While he agrees that the day is disruptive, he finds it to be “well worth it… And it’s fun the way it unfolds. Not too concerning.” Cardozo budgets time into his syllabus for Head of School Day so that his classes can easily get back on schedule. Elaine Crivelli, Instructor in Art, thinks that Head of School Day is disruptive. Crivelli said that while she likes the spirit of the day and acknowledges that it comes at a time when people are sick, exhausted, and needing a rest, she finds it hard to make class plans without knowing when the day will be. “My classes were disrupted [by Head of School Day] this year, and it feels as though we have missed a lot of time with the long weekend following immediately,” she said. Crivelli said that this disruption could be eased if faculty knew when Head of School Day was going to be. However, she recognizes that this proposal goes against the day’s spirit and does not anticipate a change in this direction. Marcelle Doheny, Instructor in History and Social Science, thinks that Head of School Day is “just fine” in its current configuration. Additionally, Doheny enjoys not knowing when Head of School Day is going to be. “It makes [the teachers] more a part of it,” she said. Doheny also said that if faculty were told the date in advance, word would likely get out. Doheny said that she always leaves a little wiggle room in her syllabus anyway and approaches the day with a “cross that bridge when you come to it” mindset. “[Head of School Day] is a tradition,” Doheny said, “You just go with it.” Andrew Housiaux, Instructor in Philosophy and Religious Studies, is not bothered by Head of School Day disruptions, but says that he can appreciate where faculty concerns are coming from. He said that he imagines more difficulties for science teachers, who need to keep their labs on schedule. Although Housiaux had a test planned for this year’s Head of School Day in one of his classes, he did not consider the change to be problematic, especially since some of his students anticipated the date. “[Head of School Day] put our schedule slightly behind, but it was a great mental break for my students and myself,” Housiaux said. Housiaux does not think that faculty should be told when Head of School Day falls. “Not knowing is part of the fun,” he said. “I think a little break is fine.” Teruyo Shimazu, Instructor in Japanese, said that she would not change anything about Head of School Day. Like other teachers, she leaves some space in her syllabus in preparation for the day off. Shimazu said that she does not think that teachers should know the date in advance, because she believes the PA community is too large to keep it a secret. She feels that the spontaneity is part of the fun. Additionally, Shimazu said the fact that faculty do not know when Head of School Day is enables them to share in the anticipation and bond with students. “I love Head of School Day,” Shimazu said. “I’m a teacher but I’m a human being too.”