|Thank you to Stacey, Betsy, Dana, Tara, Beth, Anna, Kathleen & Deb for creating community and valuing voice. Join us at Two Writing Teachers. Slide by the Slice of Life buffet for seconds or link up to serve your own slice of life.|
Ask any teacher, the beginning of the school is as stressful as it is wonderful. We get to start new each year. We get the opportunity to approach our work with fresh eyes. We begin all over again with new students and sometimes new administrators and new courses. Beginnings have a special kind of magic.
At my school, we are in our last six months of a thirty-month renovation. We have a ninety-five acre campus. We serve more than three thousand students. The re-build is a huge project. It has added new classroom space and new buildings to our campus sky line. Even the old buildings seem new: beautiful and clean. Each of the academic buildings has closed one at a time, to be stripped to blocks and studs, and refreshed; all but one is finished. The last--the building I may eventually move to--will be complete in time for Christmas. Teachers have moved out of old classrooms into portable classrooms and then back into the refurbished spaces.
You can imagine.
Though the district hired movers to move teachers boxed up belongings, there've been a few rough patches. Boxes get lost. Items get broken. Sometimes teachers things get moved to the wrong place or not moved at all. That was the case yesterday, our first "teacher" day back to school.
One of the English teachers' things was delivered to the wrong room. She was told that the movers
|Just a portion of the load we moved. Lots of boxes of books here--good things!|
I offered. We weren't finished with the first load when two of her friends, a football coach and a guidance counselor, arrived. She didn't even need to ask her squad for help; they had heard and come.
They offered. We had one dolly and several pieces of squeaky-wheeled furniture. We rolled boxes on top of utility carts and rolling chairs across campus to her new room.
We crossed dirt and gravel. When someone got stuck, we stopped, left our own loads and helped carry theirs into the clear. We held doors for one another and took turns on the elevator. We laughed about the squeaky wheels and made train jokes as we clack, clack, clacked over shiny, brick-tile floors.
After the second load, the football coach realized his things had never been moved, so we offered to move him next.
We offered. At one point, the guidance counselor said, "Now THIS is team work!" Indeed it was. It was ninety-eight degrees out and we laughed together. Working happily through the hard things--physically difficult things or cognitively difficult things--builds relationships.
Two words have been on mind since: ask and offer. When you need help or support, ask. When you see someone in need, offer. Sweet. Simple.
I'll be doing both all year.