Of course to be asked this question you must have connections with people who are not in education. No one in the business would ask you this. They already know that it doesn't wind down. It speeds up and spits you out on June 30, throwing you against a brick wall that it takes most of the first week of July to peel yourself off of.
Trust me, I am not complaining. I wouldn't dare. My husband of 28 years (and we dated for 5!) is still bitter that I get the summer off. I love the summer and have not worked one since I was 21, but I am quiet about that. It is a gift of epic and biblical proportions (source Sandra Herbst) ... I know that. I also know that the ebb and flow of the school year, the start and stop that we do is both the greatest thing about being a teacher and one of the worst things about being a teacher. The great thing is that we get to start all over again next year. The terrifying thing is that we get to start all over again next year. But before we do that, let's celebrate this year. Let's really give this year it's due before we figure out how we're going to do it so much better next year.
So as the 2010-11 school year comes to a close, what are you celebrating? Here are some of the things I am celebrating:
- Collaboration: When I started teaching you shut your door and did your job. At least you hoped you were doing your job. And you wondered what others might be doing behind their closed doors. Now, if we can only embrace it, we can actually learn from colleagues. We can talk in PLCs, observe each other and learn together.
- The great books I have found and shared this year: I can't thank you enough for indulging my passion for reading aloud. You let me read to your kids and you let me read to you and for that I am eternally grateful. From Lucy Calkins I learned that part of my calling is to care so much for great literature that others will care too.
- Book Cafe: For seven years a group of teachers has come together once a month, after school to talk informally about a professional book. The group membership has varied a bit from year to year, has had very small numbers to astounding numbers, has read literacy books, math books, inquiry books and books focused on the importance of play. But even the custodians know, when you see those checkered tablecloths, something important is happening. :)
- The math conversation has changed: We are not having the same conversations we had five years ago. Together we have figured out what teaching through problem solving looks like.
- The excitement many of you are expressing about the Daily 5: We must get you together. Such a range of teachers has been inspired by this book. So many of you have come together to talk about this and to share ideas and to question.
- The Regie Routman Writing Project: We began with four schools, Polson, SMP, Prince Edward and John de Graff and lots of talk about the reading/writing connection. The learnings about what the gradual release of responsibility really looked like in writing... I do it, we do it, we do it, we do it...you do it really inspired our teaching.
- The writing residency we had at John de Graff: Nancy McLean, a colleague of Regie Routman's and a big part of my last post, showed us what writing for real purpose and audience did for young writers. She also demonstrated the power of celebrating writers.
- Reading Recovery: We have two training groups at our training site next year and many more teachers in classrooms with this training. This can only mean good things for our youngest learners.
- ENIP: Our second year in all 27 schools and all Kindergarten and Grade 1 students given the opportunity to have extra help in developing number sense.
- Andrea: The best partner a person could have. Someone who has your back, finishes your sentences and extends your thinking.
- All of you: You allow me to participate, eavesdrop and sometimes lead your professional conversations. It is an honour and a privilege to work alongside you. You know I love books so many of you share children's books, professional books and personal reading materials with me. You invite me into your classrooms, you ask my opinion, you ask me questions. You don't expect me to have all the answers. You just accept that I am a co-learner who cares about you and your kids. What a job.
Have a great summer. Take care of yourself and the people you love.
As they say in the song, see you in September.