For four hours, I sat in a comfy chair in a local coffee shop and talked with my friend Nicole. We worked together for seven years, and were teammates and neighbors the last two of those years. She's left our small, rural district and is now working in the large suburban district where we both live. We both have had a range of assignments over the years. She's now teaching 8th grade Humanities, and I'm teaching reading workshop classes for 7th and 8th graders who are significantly below grade level.
Here are some of the topics we covered:
- flexible seating and classroom design
- Make Writing
- book recommendations for our students
- an app called "autorap"
- The Book Whisperer
- how access or lack of access to technology affects our teaching and our students
- the role of money and grants in what our schools offer students
- author visits
- Pi Day
- apps for word clouds
- the importance of writing alongside students
- what makes a good school leader
- how to stay energized and motivated as full time teachers with kids at home who consider us their "default" parent
- pros and cons of large and small districts
- the importance of accepting book recommendations from our students and getting outside of our own comfort genres
- how to find out about local workshops and conferences that would benefit us
Sure, we talked a bit about our lives outside of school. But I'd be willing to bet that 80% of our conversation over that four hours was about teaching. I took NOTES, man!
I hope you have someone like this in your life. Someone who shares your passion, who pushes you to try new things, who values your work, celebrates your success, and helps you problem solve.
It's also helpful if they make you laugh your ass off. Because sometimes, that's what teachers need most.