As I’ve written about many times, we are having a difficult year.  Between the idea of whole grade sharing, watching co-workers pushed into larger class sizes, struggling through the implementation of Common Core, and the uncertainty of the my own job status, it’s been stressful.  Last year, for whatever reason, I was the “entertainment” coordinator, simply sending out those emails about Friday afternoon “meetings” at the local watering hole.  A time where we could be teachers, but also friends, sharing little pieces of our own personal lives, creating community.

This year, it’s just not happened.  My own schedule has gotten busier with a high school student and jr. high student in the family, so suddenly I’m driving to swim practice or waiting around from cross country practice to be finished.  Blah!  True, I’m getting work done, but yet, we as a staff need that release as well.  Well, last week, we had our fall parent teacher conferences and our first “TINA” meeting.  Now, I cannot claim responsibility for the acronym, creativity has never been my fine suit.  TINA (as you might have guessed) is “teachers in need of assistance”, and we invited everyone to a meeting Thursday night.

We had a great turn out, 13 teachers/administrators all gathered together, shared appetizer  stories, and a lot of laughter, something we’ve all needed for sometime.  We learned about one teacher traveling to visit kids, another simply hanging out, and they found out that in my ultimate wisdom, I’d scheduled basketball practice on my day off!  It’s just a time to find out out the personal side of those we work with, that human side which helps to draw us closer together.
As educators, we spend so much of our time worrying, fretting, losing sleep over our students, when do we take care of ourselves?  We needed this “meeting” and we’ll have others as well, hopefully more then just one every quarter!  How do you see yourself learning about those you work with?  Do you have that chance? If not, see if you can make it happen.  A staff, a hallway, a grade level where they human side is exposed is one where the work goes quicker and you feel that sense of unity not only as teachers, but as people.