November 10, 2015
All my life I have felt like I sort of belong. As a child I was in one elementary school for kindergarten, moved so one for first grade, one for second grade, and then one for 3rd-6th grade. Then we moved back to the city from kindergarten and I stayed there through high school. In high school I was one of those kids who was on the fringes of many groups, but not ever feeling fully part of any one. I liked the musical/theater kids, but did not have talents in those areas. I lhad friends who were jocks, but definitely had no skills there. I did well in school, but never excelled. That said, I loved my high school days and loved being a part of many different communities without feeling pigeon holed into one.
Fast forward to now- many years later- I am living a somewhat nomadic life as an international school teacher. The last few days I have been thinking about communities. It is the time of year in the international teaching world where people start making decisions about staying or going. The graphic and link below have been all over my Facebook feed lately.
What my brain knows now. See more on this blog.
This year I know I am a stayer, because last year I was a “newbie” and I can not go through all of that again so soon. The last 24 hours have had me really thinking about community and what it really means to me. Yesterday we had a PD day at school and on the way in I checked my email and found a note from the father of a student from last year. He was asking me for ideas for books for his son to read, so I happily answered that as soon as I got in. I love that parents know they can ask me for book recommendations- even after their child is no longer in my class. I love being that book crazy lady!
Later in the day the English Language Arts committee met and we were busy for 3 hours at our “parallel play” (translation: we were companionably sitting around a table together writing future reading or writing units for our teams- from time to time we would ask each other for advice, pass food, share a favorite resource). I love that we have established a real team and are trialing the TCRWP units of study this year, so we are all on a learning journey together- each with our own strengths and needs, but together as a community.
Today is a holiday here, so while I was up early I set my alarm to remind me of the TWT Twitter chat mid morning- good luck for me that we had a holiday, so the time difference worked out. The focus was on their nonfiction focus for the previous week- great for me as we are in the midst of a nonfiction unit. The hour flew by and I loved being a part of the community there- lots of great ideas traded back and forth (and I may have ordered some new mentor texts as a result).
Catching up on Twitter for a few minutes I saw that Mr. Schu (@MrSchuReads) was tweeting about his Skype with a class to discuss one of his Mock Caldecott choices. I remarked that I would love to have him Skype my class and a few minutes later we were making plans. This from a man I have met twice. I have followed him on Twitter for years now and he may consider me a stalker- I frequently comment on his blog, have received books via some of his giveaways, watch his weekly videos, and generally get great ideas from him (if you not know his blog you are missing out!)! This summer I me him twice- once at nErDcampMI and once at a Scholastic Reading Summit. I have to say it felt like catching up with a good friend- he is as genuine as he appears online and it was great to spend time with him in real life. I feel like people I get to know through the Nerdy Book Club community are an important part of my life- even though in many cases we have not met “in real life”.
Then I checked in on Facebook- as I had posted a question to the Units of Study in Reading group. There were answers from several “leaders” at Teachers College- all with good advice. I am so glad to be able to reach out to this group to get some answers as I try out new things and share ideas as they come up.
There are many more pieces to my community puzzle- parts from the past that will always be with me, as well as parts from my present. It is so interesting to see how they all fit together (both the in person ones and the ones at a distance) and what happens when it feels like pieces are missing. I love being connected to many different groups and I guess I may always feel like I do not belong fully to any one, but hey, I am getting used to that!