I’m Not Sharing

This year I don’t feel like sharing.

Not that I won’t share ideas or collaborate with others – I do those things freely and often and I love it!  I am kind and generous with friends and family. I generally play well with others.   It’s the students that I am feeling selfish about.

I’m not taking an intern this year.

I was going to, in fact, I had signed up for one.  I had an intern this past year and it was great in a lot of ways.  Having a new adult person to converse with, share ideas with and learn from.  Hopefully, she got something out of the deal, too.

Last year started out really well. “Great!” I thought.  My intern was building relationships with the kids and starting her journey on becoming an educator.  She was learning and growing and the kids loved her.  We worked well together and shared the task of leading this group of little people.  She was a bit reluctant to jump in but I nudged her to start and to begin building her teaching time.  And things went well.

But then I got bored.  I missed teaching.  It was hard for me to just observe her lessons and not be part of the action.  I missed interacting with the kids all day and most of all I felt as though I missed out on the relationship building that I hold so very dearly as part of the building of my classroom culture and climate.  Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t disappear or leave the room for the whole time she was with our class, but the three weeks when she taught full-time and I was supposed to be ‘around’ but not ‘there’ were very, very long weeks.

In January, when my intern had returned back to university, I noticed something weird that hadn’t happened in years.  I felt like I didn’t really *know* my students as well as I had in past years.  I had gaps in what I knew about them – their hobbies, likes, dislikes.  I knew their academic abilities, but I had missed time bonding with them and developing those relationships that I hold so sacred.

I was sad.

I have just finished Paul Solarz‘s book Learn Like a Pirate, and one of the most important pieces that I took away from it was the absolute importance of relationships, trust and respect that are foundational for a positive classroom culture and team.  I nodded a lot while reading the book because I agree so strongly with those things.  I have always said that I believed that teaching was important but that the relationships that are formed are even more important.

Tonight was another fantastic Teach Like a Pirate chat on Twitter (#tlap).  TLAP is based on Dave Burgessbook of the same name.  I read it a couple of summers ago.    The theme of the chat was Classroom Culture and the importance of relationships, trust, and caring came through loud and clear from a group of very enthusiastic and passionate educators.

So I’m not sharing my kids this year (yes, *my* kids – once you’ve been in my room, you are always part of that group!).  I know the importance of the internship program and I will certainly take part again, as I have many times in the past, but this year, it’s just going to be me and my team.  And I will know them well.  And they will know me well. And we will try to live mostly happily-ever-after-probably-with-a-few-bumps-in-the-road next year.

And the year will be fun and memorable.   I’ll consider the intern thing next year.

Maybe.

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4 responses to “I’m Not Sharing

  1. It’s tough to share. I get that. As an administrator, one of the hardest things is getting to know students like when I was in the classroom. It’s hard. Being in small schools, being able to visit classrooms, talk with students, see them in different activities are just some of the ways we get to know our students. It’s not like being in the classroom, no. But then, they all become “my” students, as you put it. I get what you are saying, as a classroom teacher there is a difference which comes from being with students all day long. As an administrator, I get to know them in different ways and one of those ways is through the teachers, the stories that get told about what is happening, the growth, the accomplishments, the concerns, the dreams, ….. all these and more. I may not know the students like I did when I was a homeroom grade 7 teacher, but I do get to know them. For me, it’s the shared caring of all the adults in the building that helps to build a culture that cares and works for all students.
    Thanks for sharing. Your students are lucky to have a teacher that cares deeply for them as you do.

    • Thanks for the comment, Kelly! I would imagine that the challenge as an admin is much different than that of a classroom teacher but I have witnessed some very gifted admin who are able to create those trust and respect based relationships with all students in a school. We have 750 kids in our school and our Principal makes every effort to know each one of them as well as he can. He creates opportunities to interact and is a much-loved leader. It is appreciated by the students, their parents, and the staff within the building.

      I think everyone in the building is responsible for helping build and maintain a positive school culture. We all do our parts.

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