Monday, August 16, 2010

Today we were "Cultivating...!"

Today it was back to school. I was so excited that I could hardly sleep. I was up early - probably earlier than I needed to be - but I love the first day back. I always have. Even when I was a teacher in SC and all the teachers in the county dressed in heels and their Sunday best to go listen to the Superintendent's speech, I have loved starting a new year. This year was no different. Our first grade teachers gathered together early in a classroom in their jeans and colored tee-shirts to match the animal that they would be. We chatted and laughed, added Popsicle sticks to our animal masks and practiced our irreverent skit, "Animals Gone Wild". Then it was off to the very farm-themed front lobby to meet and greet all the other grade levels. As we piled into the Dining Room with its farm-y festive decorations, some teams began going through the breakfast line while other teams went to have their pictures made.

Soon the Office and Administration in their rainbow colored overalls, led by the principal in her orange Clemson-colored farmer jeans opened with a Green Acres song and dance. Each grade level in turn presented their skit from Kindergarten's farm-related Nursery Rhymes to farmer charades to a take on a Miley Cyrus concert. WHAT FUN! Next the Principal reviewed our A grade -AYP status with new goals for performance. She also revisited our earliest founding mantra of results, risks and relationships. She brought us right back to those early days when we established so much of what has carried us through these last few years.

We also played games - lots of games. From watermelon seed spitting to three-legged races and building with Tinkertoys, the grade levels competed against each other for prizes... but the point of the activities is not necessarily to win (although that is nice too!) but to build relationships among the team members - to see how teams operate so that they are better able to solve the real problems they will face in the school year. Somewhere in between the games the newest members of Chets Creek were "hazed." Each year the newbies are asked to do something that will help initiate them into the Chets Creek family. This year they had eight minutes to make a pie and then had to find someone brave enough to try it. After they received thumbs up for their creations, they each raised their right hand and took Chets Creeks' irreverent oath, promising to work hard on becoming part of the CCE family.

The Principal ended the morning by reading to us our first farm Book-of-the Month, Otis by Loren Long - a loving, touching story about relationships.

The first day back, or "skit day" as many of the teachers call it, is a day that we all look forward to because it gives each of us a good reason to end summer and commit to the new year! Today was a very good day... the beginning of a very good year.

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