The first faculty exchange between Marshall School and the American School of Bombay ended Friday with boisterous celebration and tearful goodbyes.
At the farewell assembly, I told our students that the exchange represented more than a chance to get to know somebody from another culture. By having the five guests from India stay at Marshall for an entire quarter, their experience went well beyond a tourist visit or a conference program. They became a part of our community, laughing and learning alongside our students and our faculty.
At the assembly I shared a story from Barry Raut (pictured above in a photo from Kim Kostmatka) that illustrates this point:
At the final football game of the year, Barry traveled on the team bus to Two Harbors to watch the game. Because Barry had been at all the home games running sound, Coach Homstad thought it would be a great experience to have him join the team for the final road game of the regular season.
At one point during the game, Barry received a phone call from a colleague in India.
(Most are not aware that our friends spent considerable amount of time collaborating with colleagues back home while doing their “day jobs” at Marshall — in part because they held positions that could not completely be turned over to others in their absence and made easier by the nearly 12-hour time change.)
So Barry took the call, but told his Indian colleague: “Hold on just a minute, we are about to score.”
“What do you mean, WE are about to score?” his friend said. “What about ASB? Are you telling me you’re a Hilltopper now?”
Barry paused. Then he laughed, “I guess I am.”
We sometimes use the term “experiential education” to describe active, hands-on, project based learning with students. The exchange program between Marshall School and the American School of Bombay modeled that very thing with our faculty … going well beyond the drive-by experience that characterizes so much of the professional development in our profession. This program showed the power of building a real learning community among the adults in the building.
After the assembly, a parade of Marshall faculty stopped by my office to share their thanks for the ways in which Barry, Jenny, Chitra, Smitali, and Vijaya enriched the lives of our staff and students over the course of the last 10 weeks.
They became teachers, mentors, colleagues, and friends.
And they will always be Hilltoppers.