I have been thinking about my first boyfriend lately. Well, my first "boyfriend" needs some quotation marks around it. Let me set the stage for this exciting romance. I was in my 7th grade math class which was taught by Miss. Bennett (name changed to protect the innocent). Miss Bennett stood 5'2" and weighed between 180-190 pounds. She had short red hair with bangs cut straight midway up her forehead and straight across at the level of the bottom of her ears. On her face was a small mole near her lips and chin and there were (I am an eyewitness to this) 3 dark hairs that sprouted from the mole. I am sure she was a great person, but she and I never really connected on any level either personal or educational. There was a legend that one of my classmates was so mean to her that she ran out of the room crying. It did not surprise me that no one came to her defense. I mostly remember sitting in the second desk in the third row from the door quietly entertaining myself in my mind-checked out and disengaged. I would never have said I was bored, I just wasn't interested in what she was selling. I don't remember the topics she taught in 7th grade math, but I do remember I did not like math. (This feeling lasted through my graduate program where I had a statistics class that my husband ended up teaching me.) I should say here that most of my classes were much the same for me in middle school. I have no idea what my grades were, but I have a clear memory of being checked out and thinking, "I'm not going home to memorize all the counties in Michigan" and "Yeah, about those bird calls- I don't really see myself listening closely enough in class for the next 55 minutes to pass a test where a bird song was connected to the picture on the slide." (yes, I said slide.) Such were my lessons in middle school. My brother and sister had had these same assignments. They may or may not have felt differently or complied for some of these tidbits, but I was out. I don't remember getting in trouble. Just sitting and thinking about things I liked, mostly things outside of school.
It was during 7th grade math that I received the note from Ronnie. In very typical style I recognized throughout high school from boys, he asked briefly if I would like to be his girlfriend. This seemed like a simple request and I really didn't know what it meant, so I passed the note back with the word "yes" checked. He smiled at me. Interesting, I thought. Something interesting is happening in math class. It is here that I should tell you I had no idea that there wouId be any further obligation beyond a title change-boyfriend and girlfriend. No big deal. I went about my days at school. I wrote notes, ate lunch, and hung around outside at lunch with my girlfriends. Other people seemed quite excited about this turn of events, but in my mind it wasn't a big deal. You just check "Yes" and voila, a new title. Simple. A week or so after I got the note, there was a school dance. I went and had a great time with my friends. About one hour into the dance, Ronnie stormed up to me demanding to know why I was not dancing with him. I blinked three times. "What?" I was shocked that this might be an expectation of our new titles. Apparently, Ronnie saw this change of titles to also include some expectation of a change in behavior. I was unaware there was a second step. This misunderstanding led to my first break up.
What does this have to do with my current world? I think we sometimes agree to words without any expectation that there will be a change in behavior. Our district goals, vision, mission and tasks seem like good words to me. We have talked and shaped these words for the last 3 years. The educational philosophy this represents has been good practice for hundreds and maybe thousands of years; inquiry, engagement, student led, teacher driven, collaboration and innovation are at the heart of the reason most educators choose their career. Our district team has reached a common definition for moving forward. Now is the time to act on these philosophical beliefs that are commonly held in our school. I personally feel ready to engage in this process. If I examine this very closely, I recognize I want my students to feel the excitement of curiosity that I did not always feel at school. I am ready to take some actions that may help all of us become a stronger team. I believe that each of us bring strengths that will make this easier for all of us. Many hands make light work, after all. I am nervous, but enjoy taking on a new challenge. I have suggested a chat on Twitter. (#allinchat) I notice that there are about 40 of us from W.D.S on Twitter. I have never moderated a Twitter chat before, but I had never written a blog before I started this one either. I'll bet the first chat will not be as good as, say, the twenty fourth chat. I am hoping some of my Twitter friends will join in to discuss what collaboration needs we have and how we can work more closely together. I also hope there will be others with ideas for the next topic, and eventually more moderators as well. Our first ever Whitehall chat will launch on Tuesday, February 3, 2015 at 4:30 p.m.
As an adult, I now understand how this process works and I am excited for Step 2. Sorry, Ronnie, that I did not understand this concept earlier.
How Does a Twitter Chat Work?