I have unshakable faith in children. They always show me the way. ♥

Sunday, January 2, 2011

our community...

Recently I was talking with my brother about coming to visit my classroom. He tries to visit at least once per year and gets a kick out of meeting the six year olds (they often have lovely questions for him).

He said, “Let me know when a good time is and I’ll try to figure it out.”

My response was, “Well, any time would be good to visit, really”

Which is actually true. But it got me thinking: why is any time a good time, now? The more I thought about it, I realized it’s because we have our routines and procedures set up, the kids know what they’re doing, they know what the expectations are, they’re learning how to keep learning and working during each learning period and are practicing it each day, even if they don’t quite have it down pat yet. It’s because we now know how to take better care of each other, how to take out all of our tools and put them away carefully, how to make connections, how to handle conflict in a (mostly) respectful way. We know how to laugh together now, and we do it quite often.

We’re now a community.

It’s very different than where we start at the beginning of the year: a group of individuals with a lot of excitement, apprehension, and curiosity.

This isn’t a journey that has an end point. We’re not going to get there, per se, because that would mean that we wouldn’t have any more growing or learning to do. Throughout the year we have new things to navigate, obstacles that throw us off course, times when we need to step back, re-center ourselves, and get back on track.

I think when I told my brother that anytime would be a good time to visit it’s because I have confidence in the strength of that very community relationship, that I can help guide us – when needed – through new and different things, and trust that while it won’t be perfect, it might not even be good at that moment. But it will be real. And it will make us stronger.

This year has really made me reflect on the importance of the first six weeks of school (and how hard they are), but also on how those weeks are the building blocks that get us to the point of -- well, not relaxation, because with the ever-increasing standards for learning, there’s always more being added to our plates -- but to the point of confidence in the children.

Which is a wonderful place to be.


Denise Simoneau said...

Well put, Kirsten. It all applies to grade 6, too!

kirsten said...

Denise, I imagine it's as satisfying for teachers of upper grades to get to a comfortable point with their class as it is for lower grade teachers. ♥

Karen Steinbuechler said...

I have to tell you - I so enjoyed the time I got to spend in your classroom this week. You and your kiddos have created such a peaceful oasis for learning - it was truly inspiring to see you in action! You're brother is in for a real treat. :)
Thank you for being a living example of what teaching is all about!