Thursday, October 16, 2014

Can't wait until JANuary....


 Years ago, our district built a "low ropes course."  On one in service  day, we were divided into small groups and worked through the course with each other, supporting each other using our weaknesses and strengths.  Do I still smell Ryan's armpit when I see him in the hallway after that "arrange yourself by birthday while standing on a log without stepping off" activity all these years later?  Yup, kind of.    Do we wish we had pictures of that day?  Absolutely -- as long as they aren't of me hanging from a rope.  Did people grumble about spending a day in the woods doing this activity, sure.  Would we trade any of these bonding experiences.  Not on your life.

 Today's Te@chthought Blog Prompt for "Connected October" is:

"Why is it important to be connected as an educator?" 


You know that feeling that you get when you're overwhelmed all the time, the rules are constantly
changing, and everything seems high-stakes?  Have you ever played darts, and the target was moved repeatedly?  If so, you have a rough idea what it's like to be in education these days.  Chances are good that you also value the friends and colleagues with whom you dwell in the trenches.  I can't imagine a school which functions well without a faculty that relies on each other through thick and thin.

 It's pretty odd when I can honestly answer that my favorite time of the day is lunch.  Heck, I'm 53 years old, and I've loved school and learning my entire life, but "A Lunch" at Donegal is what gets me through the moving target, the high stakes, the confusion, and all the rest of the STUFF that mires me as an educator these days.  Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love my job. I also know that for 26 minutes (figuring 2 minutes to the faculty room and 2 minutes back) every single day, there is laughter, commiseration, and levity that defines us as an unlikely group of friends.

Case in point:  Today was "Multiples Day" at Donegal for Spirit Week.  Last year, through the miracle of school portrait misfiling, one teacher was innocently the recipient of a sheet of wallet sized photos of one of our beloved Chemistry teachers, Michael, in her packet of photos.  (Pictured above in the blue striped sweater, but I'm getting ahead of myself.)  For the entire 2013-14 school year, Michael was the recipient of significant good-natured ribbing through various "projects" that were created using his likeness.

Fast forward to this year.  When the pictures arrived in our mailboxes, Michael sprinted (and I mean SPRINTED) to retrieve his pictures.  Satisfied he had them all in his possession, he proclaimed that he was in control this year.

Little did he know that the photo company offered the option of various "gifts" that could be ordered with the school portrait likeness -- t shirts, puzzles, mugs, mousepads -- you get the idea.  No need for an actual picture, just the "photo code" that appeared on the photo pack.  (Conveniently retrieved by another spy -- err-- colleague.)  It didn't take long for the A Lunch gang, along with some folks in B and C lunches, to put together a t-shirt order, Fed Exed in time for Multiples Day.

This morning, Michael was paged to the library before school, to meet his likeness, several times over.  His reaction was priceless.  He's also one of the best sports around.

My point in all of this is that the connectedness of the people I work with, whether it be through collaboration on a serious project or something to lighten an otherwise intense day, makes all of us better teachers.  The silliness of today is the connectedness of many days to follow.