One Sunflower

shine a bit over here please

on November 8, 2011

I wrote this letter to all the staff at my school last week – sort of in response to what I was hearing in the halls but also because of the entry posted by boxofchocolates on Oct. 25th.

So I’m sending this out to all of you too, because maybe what is going on in our school is going on in yours too:

To the staff at Everson Elementary:

Sometimes I am a fly on the wall in this school and like a fly, I’m in and out of only bits and pieces so my perspective may be a bit skewed.  But here is what I’m thinking about:

The outside world is not really a great place right now – for any of us.  All of us are probably feeling some pinch or poke from something somewhere.  It is stressful and it is stressing everyone equally – our students, their families and our communities.   What I’ve noticed is that we aren’t really even talking about it anymore – my theory is that we’ve lost hope about changing the outside world.

But we do talk a lot about what is going on in this building.  It sounds like angst and complaining, anger and frustration – but to me, that means we still have hope about the role we play inside the walls of this school.

This is our first year with a leadership team meeting biweekly with our principal and issues are being brought forward. Teachers are voicing concern about his visits to our classrooms – not because of being observed but because they want to be sure he is seeing the things they are working on! Teacher teams are taking time in hallways, lunch breaks, and midnight sessions to hash out definitions and details of our new Focus Group instruction.  Our staff is looking at everything with a microscope –planning time, instruction, staff meetings, etc.

My opinion is that we wouldn’t bother if we didn’t have hope that we can impact the work.

But I also know that because the world isn’t so nice out there, everything seems not-so-nice.  It is more important than ever that we really take care of each other – you know, be the sunshine we so desperately need.   District administrators are not walking through our halls every day complementing us on our wonderful work.  School board members are part of that outside community dealing with world worries.  Student family members are another sort of fly-on-the-wall – usually their kitchen wall at homework time.  Everyone has their own perspective but I like to think that staff perspective is the most insightful.

When I was in tears over my little screamer, a 5th grade teacher pointed out that it showed I cared and was passionate about reaching that child.  An aide offered me what she could – a hug.  I, in turn, offer support to a first grade teacher dealing with students I know from prior experience to be especially taxing. Another teacher and I thrashed together in support of family in crisis that we have in common.

It is troublesome stuff, but I actually feel good about the work we are doing.

Okay – I’ve said enough, I’m moving on to that plate of left over Halloween candy …..bzzzzz

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7 responses to “shine a bit over here please

  1. Deb Day says:

    Thank you for sharing your post–almost like a little virtual hug for all of us. A reminder that sometimes all we can take care of is our little corner of the world. make the world a better place for those we are closest to…nice job!

  2. Linda Baie says:

    It’s a wonderfully supportive set of words for your staff and as Deb said, for all of us in that wider world. We too had a tough week last week & I wonder if some stemmed from Halloween being on a Monday. It is good that you are trying to look at many perspectives; they are certainly there, & sometimes very vocal. Thanks!

  3. Linda Baie says:

    I forgot to say how much I liked your offer of sunshine, always given by sunflowers of course!

  4. Many teachers are feeling layers of tension and stress in my buildings as well. I used to read a lot of political blogs but recently I’ve had to give it a rest. I think one of the reasons teachers are afraid to talk too much is they think they will be dubbed a complainer, a whiner with an easy job that gets paid too much. We really do need to take care of each other. 🙂

  5. Thank you. Just thank you.

  6. elsie says:

    There is so much power in your words. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Donna Smith says:

    It’s everywhere. The sunshine just needs to be coaxed out a bit. A reminder to remember that your attitude affects your attitude…and that of others as well. Keep up the hugs and kind words, and keep that hope alive.

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