Not only do we get to know the students well through our model of small learning communities but fortunately we get to know the teachers just as well.
This is “Year Four” of the Queens High School of Teaching. When I first arrived here ( Year Two) I immediately thought to myself, “Wow!... I’m lucky I got onto the staff when I did, why would anyone leave this teaching environment?”
Now that Y4 is dawning my original contention has not changed. I do recognize our school is not for everyone. Some students will be overwhelmed by the expectations of cooperative group work placed upon them when they cross the threshold of our institution. Some parents will undoubtedly be overwhelmed by the unparalleled desire to maintain mixed abilities cohort classes within a set small learning community. I can sympathize with the struggle new students and their parents must face with these breaks from tradition. What perplexes me is the need for teachers/ counselors to move on.
Granted our school expects much from its staff. There is a sense of a developing professional culture mandated, not from the administration, but from our own colleagues that seems to pervade conversations throughout the building. Because of this “professional culture” there is not much “downtime” between August 7th and June 28th.
Are teachers leaving for greener pastures?
Do suburban schools offer the same opportunities to make revolutionary changes in society?
Are traditionally formatted schools such a draw for professional reflective teachers?
The colleagues that have decided to move on are teachers. They are good teachers. If they terminated their time with us and left the profession a void in the world of education would have to be refilled.
Reflecting on their departures from my small learning community, I am internally struggling with what we (as a professional community) could have done to retain these colleagues and their expertise? How are we (our SLC) going to grow from this experience?
Could communication during SLC’s be improved by sticking to set protocols?
Should sharing of positive experiences we have had here during our school experience be more public and verbal rather than just share electronically at the end of the week? Should more attention be paid to the “Nay Sayers” and steps taken to help these struggling colleagues?
I imagine loosing a tooth for a child is a traumatic experience. A child never thinks they will not have the teeth they have come to depend on, the teeth that aided in nourishment through infancy and their toddler years. When I tooth falls out there is a hole left behind, there is some pain and there may even be some blood. It is definitely awkward. In time the tooth is replaced and new teeth emerge to fulfill the functions of the missing dental teammates.
I look foward to meeting the new teachers that will fill the holes on our teams.
My mom always said, “Take care of your teeth and they will take care of you.” I hope we as a community remember proper dental care and care for eachother.
Total Teachers can only exist in Total Schools.
P.S. Aren’t you glad I did not extend the metaphor any further and start talking about pulling teeth, oral surgery, caps, or braces? and what about those gold covered teeth with stars or dollar signs?