Thursday, November 7, 2013


I have written many times about how much I love working with my grade level.  We are a large group of different ages and abilities, but when we come together to work toward a common goal, we  do remarkable work.  I have always loved that about Chets Creek - that chance to imagine a project and then have others who want to make the journey with you.

Another way that I love to collaborate is when we have visitors in our building.  It's a chance to share our work, but it so much more than that.  When you share, when you are asked questions, it forces you to think through what you really believe. It forces you to put a voice to why you do what you do.  I hate teachers who check boxes and do what they're told without conviction or understanding.  I love to be around people that question and no matter how good they are, always want to reach higher and do it better. 

That's what I love about visitors, because they are usually there to ask questions and to learn and reach for that higher goal.  Thus, was my experience today.  I had three kindergarten teachers visiting from another school.  While they came to see my class, to just spent the time with me, they would have really missed the Chets Creek experience if they had not talked with my colleagues.  I work with incredible teachers who each have unbelievable skills and abilities.  The trouble is that you can't teach and be the tour guide at the same time.  It takes someone who understands the moral obligation we have to each other to be willing to carve out the time to make room for visitors in a busy schedule. 

Today, Suzanne Shall was that person.  She's technically the Assistant Principal and today the Principal was out- like she really has time for my little projects!  I had made arrangement for the visitors to review the RtI process while we had our Awards Ceremony (which I felt would be a waste in meeting their goals).  But at the last minute our RtI Coordinator was sick.  It happens.  Without a moment's hesitation, Suzanne stepped right in.  She gave the overview, toured the rooms and answered questions.  She could walk in any of our classrooms and pull out writing portfolios or explain what is in each child's individual reading bin.  She could explain  the Math Investigations program or where we pull our Science lessons, so by the time the visitors got to me, they were well grounded in our philosophy and already some of their most pressing questions answered.

 They visited other kindergarten classes and saw some of the best we have to offer.  They asked a zillion questions and we answered everything that they asked.  I hope that we opened a line of communication that will be far reaching because in this group of teachers I found kindred souls.  That's what collaboration is about - being willing to open your classroom and be vulnerable and being willing to get out there and see what else is going on.  The seeds that we planted today between these two school will reap huge crops over the years. 

Thank you Suzanne for being the catalyst to make it all happen.  Thank you colleagues for never saying no and for always making me so proud.  And thank you to teachers who strive to be the best they can be.  I LOVE my job!

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