Happy first Friday of September everyone! I’ve seen Facebook and Instagram posts about fall, pumpkin spice, and the lot. Meh. It’s September 2, let’s all take a deep breath, get a little oxygen to our respective brains, and not wish away what little bit of summer we have left! 🙂
That being said, school is back, and we’ll complete our first full week of classes (I’ve gotten to teasing my student about the fact there are 170+ days left), and for the most part, we are feeling good about life. As those in education know, there’s always that beginning of the year “honeymoon period” where everyone’s making sure they are on their best behavior, so next week, things start to get real. But that being said, I feel real good about how we’ve started out. Our 8th graders are hearing the same thing from each of their core teachers, they are hearing the same expectations, and seeing the same “teaching” of those expectations, which is huge. They know we are all on the same page, and that we are talking to each other about how we do better.
Which leads me to where this blog begin. I got chatting online with a friend from the elementary a couple of nights ago. As I’ve moved to the opposite side of the school, those who I’ve worked with for 15 years, I don’t have the chance to see because we run in different educational circles now. There’s a definite dividing line between our elementary and middle school, and while it’s not done on purpose, it’s there. Anyway, we got talking about how much things have changed in our school over the last 17 years, how we’ve gone from two sections of each grade level to multi-aged sections because of declining enrollment and how certain things have been lost because of that. I taught 10 years in the elementary in a sort of pod setting where sixth grade was on one side of the hallway, fifth grade on the other. During that time, those teachers I worked with (three of whom I now teach with again) had a blast. It was nothing to run across the hallway, ask a question, without any sense of feeling interruptive because that’s just what we did! As a group, we’d be in the hallway as students arrived to school, so they’d come down the hallway seeing their teachers smiling and laughing. As my friend and I talked, she shared that one day, one of her students stopped to watch us, and commented that she felt safe at school because she could come in the building and hear her teachers laughing.
She’s never told me that, and it made my night (triggering this blog). I’ve said this before, I work with an amazing staff. We laugh together, cry together, celebrate the joys of life and comfort each other in the sorrows. We are stretched right now, but yet, when tragedy strikes, we are there for each other with a comforting word, a hug, or a beer. It’s what family does. And as we go, our students go as well. If the family isn’t functioning well, you can tell with the kids. So it goes here too, if our school family has issues, you see it in the faces of the students.
So, reach out to your co-workers. Ask them about their lives outside of school, about their kids, or their Labor Day plans. Sometimes, it’s those little things that draw us out, and help us to know that we aren’t alone in our school community. It helps to start that climate of caring about each other.
And your students notice. They may not verbalize it, but they do. 🙂