I am participating in the March Slice of Life Story Challenge. Thanks to the co-authors of Two Writing Teachers for creating this supportive community.
I’ve read a few posts recently about the importance of space – what it reveals about us as well as how it affects our creativity. Recently I attended a workshop held at a local middle school. The breakout sessions were in various classrooms which gave me the chance to look around and think about the teacher and students who inhabit that space on a daily basis.
As I entered one classroom I first noticed that the desks were arranged in pairs, the middle rows facing forward and the end rows facing inward.
Yes! This is a teacher who values collaboration.
Just as quickly I noticed the rain gutter under the front whiteboard. I always wanted to have one of those! I scanned the titles and found many familiar friends – Bridge to Terabithia, Wringer, Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, Stargirl. There were a few nonfiction titles and at least one poetry book, but not much in the way of more contemporary books. The bookshelves, as far as I could tell, did not house a classroom library. I also caught sight of two folders tacked to the front bulletin boards – one filled with blank book order forms and one labeled “No Name.”
Yes! This teacher wants her students to be familiar with good literature. But, how often do the titles change? Do book talks happen in this space? Can students make suggestions?
I did listen to the presentation, but my thoughts were filled with wonderings about this teacher’s space and what I could learn from it. I kept coming back to the word “reinvent.” To me, this space revealed a veteran teacher who is open to new ideas, who is knowledgeable and willing to try some new strategies to reinvent herself and better serve her students. I wanted to talk with her and discuss what else she might try. I think no matter what role we play in life – teacher, writer, friend, mother, spouse – we need to have the courage to try something new from time to time, to “let go” and “welcome in,” to move forward without forgetting the past, to remain fresh and interesting. That is what keeps life interesting.