Today I finally got a chance to get into my classroom and start setting up. My mind has been spinning since orientation with questions and ideas, especially since my husband was able to get into his classroom weeks ago since it wasn't being used for summer school. We spent last week hearing a lot about admin's stance on education and I genuinely felt like this was a group of educators who, at least in intention, were there for the kids. There was encouragement to take risks, to try new things, to innovate, and to advocate for the students. It all sounds so good in theory, but you never know what things look like in day-to-day practice. I hoped I would be meeting other colleagues who wanted to challenge themselves, innovate, and bring a positive attitude to collaboration.
While I was puttering around in my room today trying to figure out where to start, a smiling face popped her head in my door to introduce herself. She was a veteran teacher, someone who had been there for a while and offered to help in any way she could. She assured me that I should ask for help and that it was a math department norm to be asking questions of each other to make our teaching better. We began to talk about sharing classrooms since she hadn't met the other new teacher yet with whom she'd be sharing and then she said something that obviously piqued my interest: that she wanted to talk to the other teacher since she was trying something "new and crazy" this year. Knowing that she wanted to better her strategies in classroom management, she had spent a large part of her summer researching ways to facilitate that through classroom design. She was going to start differentiating her seating options by creating zones: individual desks, groups and pairs, big comfy folding chairs, etc. This way students could work in the most appropriate situation for them, even if that wasn't what everyone else was doing. The craziest part? She doesn't even have her own classroom. She thought this was going to be good for kids, so she was willing to spend the time setting up and taking down the room before she floated to another room. She was working to negotiate the obviously unique scenario with the other teacher using the room.
I haven't been to a staff meeting yet and I haven't even met most of my PLC, but knowing that there are people who are pushing themselves every day to break out of their comfort zone to benefit a student is nothing but a good sign to me.
And obviously, I had to hang my first posters.