Wednesday, November 30, 2011

It's the little things

Over the last five school days, and because of some reflection time during Thanksgiving and hanging out on twitter, I realized that it's the little things that we do in education that really matter.  I realize in watching these little things just how much education has changed since when I was in school.  I watch as students assist and collaborate with one another in classrooms.  Students assisting and collaborating used to be considered cheating.  Now it's just the way we do education.  I watch staff interact with students and each other in a cooperative way.  There is still some work to do, especially in providing more time to collaborate to make this cooperation more a part of the every day workings of a school.  It used to be so much more competitive but we're moving more toward "coopetition", the combining of cooperation and competition, because who doesn't want to be the best?  Cooperation will allow all of us, staff and students alike, to be more successful.  These two items are pretty big, but here are the little things I have seen in the last few school days.

  • Staff greeting students and each other in the hallways, at the classroom door, and in the cafeteria.
  • Two new students being accepted for who they are and other students befriending them with no hidden agendas.
  • Staff stopping in the cafeteria to speak with the students about nothing really related to school.
  • Students assisting one another when someone has dropped their books or their lunch tray.
  • A former student coming in to share information about his high school marketing class, and every teacher allowing him to spend time in the classroom.
  • Coaches putting in hours of preparation before and after school to provide better opportunities for success.
  • Staff attending meetings before and after school to make the school an even better place to learn.
  • Anonymous donors providing funds for expanding technology access.
  • A former superintendent sharing his volunteer work in Sudan with all of our students.
  • Parents coming in to cheer on their child during basketball games.
  • Behind the scenes technology work to get the entire school on board with google apps for education.
  • Conversations with staff about the difficulties in school with a change in the topic to what is good in school.
  • Watching a back channel chat in a social studies classroom, and seeing everyone engaged in the discussion.
  • Learning with a student how to use a color Nook for the first time.
  • Having pie, an example of a treat, in the teachers' lounge.
I'm sure that I'll see many more things over the next few days that would make this list even longer and more impressive.  Sometimes it's just the little things that can make your day, like having lunch with a group of 4th graders or joining a kickball game or seeing a smile on a student's face when you say hello and call them by name.  Well, it's time for a great recess with the kids, another little thing I really enjoy.