A few days ago, I sat down to write this post and got stuck. I knew what I wanted to say, but the words just wouldn't come the way I wanted. Then my family and I went to see Urban Rez, the "immersive theater experience" (Thank you Cornerstone Theater Company for those words) by Larissa Fasthorse. The play is about Indians losing their land to the government and how can they get recognized as a tribe. In addition to the amazing experience, it helped me to find the words I needed to express the gratitude I feel for my tribe.
"Your tribe is more than the people", a line taken from the play that resonated and gave me what I was missing. When I had my first teaching job, I made friends and mostly enjoyed the experience. I was a new teacher so there were some, lets's say, interesting moments, but it was overall a good place to work for my beginning career. What I discovered at my next (and current) place of work is that I really need to connect with the people, the philosophy, and the environment in order to be fulfilled. I could not be who I am today without all of that.
I met my best friend (of almost 20 years) here. I met my mentors (who I still go to for advice whether it is personal or professional) here. I felt the freedom and comfort to change how I teach and who I have become here. These are the people who have celebrated my successes, shared my worries, and commiserated when I failed (or at least when I thought I did.) I had found my home. These are not just my "work" friends. Most of us regularly spend time outside of work together on a regular basis. These are my PEOPLE.
We have similar views on teaching and working with children. I hear stories about how teachers don't work together on their campuses (especially with other departments whether it is a subject area or special education). I can't fathom what that would be like. Some of my favorite people work in those "other" classes. There is constant collaboration, even when we don't have the same grade levels.
Our campus is located on a hill with a fabulous view. There have been many long teaching days where I stand in my doorway after the bell rings just to look at the view. (The morning view is pretty spectacular as well.) One of the reasons I love our campus is the interconnected classrooms. I can't even count the number of times I have asked my next door neighbor to watch my classroom through the doorway so I can run to the restroom! Or how often I have wondered through the building at the end of the day just looking for someone to chat with. My wall neighbor and I regularly play knocking games on the wall during class. (Keeps the kids amused as well!)
What amazes me the most is how lucky I am to work with such amazing people in a wonderful environment. Some have come and gone, as will others, but the true heart of our campus remains throughout. I end with a heartfelt THANK YOU to all who have made my job (and my life) better than I could have ever hoped.
What I have learned:
-Truly amazing things happen when you enjoy those you work with
-No matter what you call those around you, teaching is not a job to be done alone. I know I certainly couldn't!
20+ year teacher, mother of 2 kids and 2 dogs, wife, lover of all things M&M, interested in tech in the classroom, and changing up my teaching