The wonders of chemistry, the diverse narratives of world history, the complexity of an algebraic equation—we want students to learn all of those things. But we also think it’s important to learn about other kinds of work: the work that sometimes can be dull or repetitive or interrupt a nice Saturday sleep-in. In our high-tech world, it’s easy to disregard tasks that make our world run smoothly. And cultivating respect for labor is best done through sharing it.
That’s why every student at NMH participates in the work program. Each term, students are assigned a four-hour-per-week job. They might make granola in the dining hall or harvest lettuce on the farm, tutor other students in math or keep the pottery studio organized, be a campus tour guide or manage a sports team. Students are assessed on attendance, enthusiasm, and productivity, and they have to get a passing grade for each "work job" in order to graduate.