Saturday, August 29, 2015

Kindred Spirits.

Kindred Spirits.  Yes, that is who teaches in the classrooms in my school.  We've made it through the first three days, aka the first week, and have wandered in and out of each others' classrooms, noticing structure, behavior plans, classroom goals, organization techniques, and room arrangements.  

We all know that creating a streamlined, attractive, and well-communicated learning environment for our students makes the rest of the job so much easier.  

Last year, I touted the wonderful influence of the characters at A Lunch.  This year, the dynamic group has been split up -- with some of us actually assigned to cafeteria during the coveted A Lunch slot. It's not bad, it's just different.  And those of us who no longer eat together realize that lunch is not the only time to connect with colleagues, once you realize who is in the building before or after school - for that is when the unhurried collaboration takes place.

The green chairs, aka the INNER CIRCLE,  have unwittingly called to other teachers as they've walked down the English wing hallway, the neon green beckoning them to enter.  I think the green is bright and cheery, and am confident that my quest to get 26 matching chairs by visiting 11 CVS stores in 2 counties has been worth every minute of my time.  The green chairs are my current research project -- and my colleagues are individually trying "something new" in their rooms as well.  For some, it's new technology, for others it's encouraging inquiry, and still others are working to improve executive function and communication skills of students. 

We can't all try everything at once.  We get that.  The cool thing is that we respect and communicate with each other, sharing success stories, and offering encouragement through our enthusiasm.  I know that I fail, miserably, at the whole classroom structure thing.  I can barely keep my own desk clean, let alone track the belongings left behind by the dwellers in my room.  

So right now, I am queen of the chairs. I can talk about their value, and their success.  Down the hall is the most amazing Mindmap of the Odyssey, created by a few English teachers one afternoon, because of the sheer love of the story, and the desire to draw students in with a visual representation of the journey.  Upstairs, the science department works to create an environment/lab similar to the real world organizational structure of labs inhabited by professional researchers.  

If we all taught the same, it would be a boring place, and there would be little to discuss at lunch.  Instead, the Spirits call, silently, to connect colleagues at the exact moment they need connecting, offering the perfect tip or strategy to improve a struggling situation.

It's all about listening for the whisper.