This last week was the type of week that both energizes and saps energy, fortunately, they work together for balance.
The week marked the middle of our grade period...and our classes for this term. On the way to school, I quietly panned my classroom in my mind and tried to imagine what I knew about each student. The deeper I dug, the more I realized that what I knew about some students was surface-level knowledge. This disturbed me, because it represented a break in the community, the very thing that we all need.
Upon beginning my classes that day, I pointed out to my students that we had been working hard in class. We had been learning a great deal about our subjects, which is why we are in school. We are there for another reason, community, and to build community, we need to know each other. We work alongside each other and build a team through that work, but how often do we stop to intentionally learn more about each other on a personal level? So, we decided to challenge that assumption.
I started by telling something about myself that I felt the class did not know, and others in the class were invited to ask a question about it. The response was wonderful. Students wanted to know more about their teacher. Then, I chose someone in the circle. That person could share like I did or have me ask a question to prompt sharing. To my surprise, these students wanted to share. They dove more deeply than I expected and came out toward the end of the class period with a question. "Mr. Pickerd, can we do this tomorrow in French?"
It was clear to me that in as far as I desire to know about my students, they want to be known. As we come to be known(and know others) we begin to recognize that our individual stories mix and mingle with those of others around us. They become parts of a larger story.
Each of us has a story!