Friday, September 24, 2010

Week 2: A School Worth Saving?

Halfway through the week my first week of teaching, I got an answer to a question I forget to ask.

During a meeting in the middle of the week, one of the veteran teachers who was actually an alumni from the school came to give a history lesson on the school. He talked about how the school not only reflected a progressive educational philosophy but also the historical events of the past hundred years.

He mentioned that the school in some ways was always going through a crisis. Not a crisis in the sense that the building was literally falling apart but rather the idea of crises as transitions. He explained that, "It's the job of the board to save the school in times of crisis.  It's our [teacher's] job to make sure that there's a school worth saving."

I couldn't help but wonder, is this school really worth saving?

After one week of teaching I would say yes. There’s a couple reasons but there was one that really got to me this week: students in this school are everybody's students.

From day 1, I've been not only encouraged but expected to discuss any issues, problems and triumphs with the classroom teachers. As a music teacher I see them twice a week as opposed to every day, so I don't have as good perspective on the students as their classroom teachers. As I went around to talk to teachers about their students what I was surprised to find is that they were as interested in my observations about their students as I was about theirs.  This was a conversation between equal partners.

I wasn't a babysitter who takes students from their teachers so they can have prep time.  I was an integral to their education.  These students really are not any one teachers sole responsibility but all of ours.

That is something special.

I can’t help but wonder was I doing anything in the flurry of my first week to make this a school worth saving?

I would say yes. Am I going to say that things went perfect? No, of course not and I doubt any of my students had any life-altering education moments that will lead them to discovering the cure for cancer, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t successful.

Success in education is about the little moments: It’s helping a students realize that a beat is speeding up.  It’s watching a student make their first sound on a trombone and watching them giggle in delight.  It’s sitting with a student at the end of class helping them understand that it’s ok to confused.   Those are moments I had this week and are definitely “worth saving.”

The question I forgot to ask was, "what is my job as a teacher?"  And no, it's not simply to create a school worth saving, but that's a good place to start.

No comments:

Post a Comment