Friday, September 4, 2015

Year 6: Week 1 - Ollie-Bear On The Loose

Our first week of school was kind of weird. We had teacher meetings on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Today on Friday we had our first day of school, which will be immediately followed by a three-day weekend. So I’m not going to talk about teaching, because I didn’t really do that much teaching this week. Instead I’m going to talk about something that reflects the soul of my school.

During the teacher meetings this week and last week when I was in school doing preparation work, I brought Ollie to school. I hired one of my former students who is a current high school student at my school babysitter to watch Ollie. We were struggling to find childcare and one of the other teachers suggested this as an option.

I was initially concerned because most of our babysitters we had hired previously were older but I figured that I was going to be in the building anyways, so if something happened, I was around.  My school has playground, art supplies, a library and plenty of space for Ollie to explore so we decided to give this a try.

And it went really well.

The babysitter did a great job. She let Ollie take the lead exploring the school and she knew exactly how to keep Ollie from being too clingy when he happened to see me in the hallways. It was really beautiful to hear Ollie’s laughter echo down the hallway as the babysitter joyfully followed him around the school.

The other part of this experience that was really touching was how much other faculty and administrators welcomed and played with Ollie. For the past week, people at my school have been coming up to me telling me about their interactions with Ollie, when he was being babysat in the building.  Some of this is “I saw him and he’s really cute,” but the majority of these recollections include stories of people talking to him, reading him stories, and playing with him.

I witnessed this when I was walking down the hallway and I saw two teachers with the babysitter playing with Ollie, reading books to his.  This was clearly more than a one-minute walk by greeting. It was really touching that people were going beyond simply being welcoming to Ollie to interacting with him and getting to know him.

Part of this has to do with the fact that people who work in schools generally like kids, but I think it’s more than that.  Ollie is very sensitive to his surroundings.  If there's a place where something doesn't feel right, he can be clingy.  However, if Ollie feels that he is safe and comfortable like he feels at my school, he really opens up.

Earlier this week I was carrying Ollie out of the school after busy morning of fun with his babysitter.  I saw a group of middle school field hockey players collecting in the entrance of the school.  Ollie was tired but when I told him, "hey Ollie, look, there's a bunch of girlies," he perked up, jumped out of my arms and ran towards them.  Before I knew it he was enveloped into the center of a crowd of twenty girls, giggling as they said talked to him.

A school that embraces my son, is an expression of my school's values, and the meaning and joy of being a community.




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