The Rules

Shortly after I began my first teaching assignment at a New York boarding school, the head of school called me into his office and said, “Malcolm, I just received a phone call from a mother who complained that her son has gotten stuck with all the rookie teachers, the ones who just stay one chapter ahead of the kids. So, I ask you, Malcolm, are you staying one chapter ahead of the kids?”

My first reaction: They’re on to me! I then pondered the question, trying to appear pensive and scholarly, paused, and replied, “No sir.”

You see, the truth was that I was not actually a full chapter ahead of the kids.

That’s where things stood at the start. In the early years, I think I was fairly self-conscious of just how much I did not know. Then I went through a phase where I was trying to appear smarter than I was by pontificating ideas and theories all over the place.

After a while, I got into a flow. Maybe it was nothing more than experience, but it simply began to seem that some things were just obvious. After two or three decades of seeing the same things over and over again – the same attitudes and behaviors leading to progress, the same attitudes/behaviors resulting in lack thereof – it began to dawn on me that there are, in fact…..rules.

They’re not MY rules. They’re not HYDE rules. They’re just….THE rules. During the next few weeks I thought I’d lay some of them on you. Stay tuned.

Onward, Malcolm Gauld