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 Burgess‘ book 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.