Tuesday, February 24, 2015

My House...a memoir

For over a month, I carried boxes, one at a time, to the house across the street and piled them into the dining room space.  We are temporarily renting this house so our current house (shown in photo above) can be torn-down and rebuilt. In June, the movers arrived and moved all the furniture. We began to sleep across the street as the old house stood, awaiting its total removal.

Last week, I returned to make sure nothing was left behind. My footsteps echoed loudly. I snapped pictures with my camera of each empty room. I remembered moving to Arlington when Bridgit was in 4th grade and Anne in 1st. Now Anne graduates college this May. Thinking back, so many meals in the dining room, so many chocolate chip cookies baked in the kitchen, so many Christmas tress glowed in the living room. All four of us, on a morning schedule, allowed for adequate use of the one bathroom. As I snap the last picture, I thought to myself, “This really is a good home”. But as Brian said in the certified letter to the neighbors alerting them to the tear-down and new construction, “After more than 80 years of service, our home at 5218 North 12th Street has reached the end of its functional life.  Rather than subject it to the indignity of additions and alterations, we have decided that replacement is the most responsible option.” So down it will come.

Before, I used to focus on all the negatives of this house – no central A/C in the summer, drafty windows in the winter, no space to invite friends over to entertain. All these things will be remedied in our newly designed 21st century energy-efficient house. But now, looking back, I realize that those six rooms served our family so well for so many years.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

OLW - responsiveness on 2/12

"The kids need to get into groups of 6 and I'll pass out the scripts and then each group will perform..." a student quickly rambled, stating the steps in the Homeroom Activity she planned for the day.

In my mind, I was reminded that another class was joining us to see how the kids in my room were planning the Homeroom Activity. I was reminded that this activity should be just 20 minutes, as we still needed to have time for small group work. I was thinking this sounded way too complicated and I thought it should be less complicated.

"It sounds like this might take too long. Should we save it for another day when we might have more time?" I gently stated.

"But I worked really hard on it last night," she pleaded.

I contemplated my response. On the one hand, as the teacher, I do have the power to have the final say. Yet, on the other hand, as a teacher in a Responsive Classroom school, my responses need to take in account all in the community. This child was tasked with the job of leading our Homeroom Activity - an activity with the goal of adding a bit of fun into our day.

So I took a breath and calmly stated, "Ok, let's give it a try. How can I help?"

35 minutes later, everyone had laughed.
35 minutes later, everyone had had a fun break.

35 minutes later, I was glad I responded the way I did.

Sometimes, as a teacher, my response needs to be "OK, let's give it a try" and then get out of the way.