Thursday, our students all performed hip hop-it was a dance performance by the students for the students kindergarten to grade seven. They had six days of lessons, two classes at a time, with a very amazing teacher. At first as there didn't seem to be enough room for all the students and the more and more parents who appeared, I really wondered how insane it would be, but soon I was totally captivated as was the audience. It was really amazing to see the delight of an entire school. As I noted earlier I think we all need more laughter and we had plenty Thursday. These are the kinds of experiences that are so fun to be a part of, even if you have done nothing, but it's just fun to be part of the community, and see the delight on the part of parents and students and teachers.
When I have looked back at great experiences in my life, it was this feeling of being part of a community that gave some of my best times-from working in a crippled children's camp (in French) to a writing course for teachers at the University of New Hampshire to a French Immersion course for teachers in Quebec City. Being part of close knit teaching staffs has also given me that feeling. Growing up first on a farm in a house my grandfather built to living in a small town, I was born into having a sense of community. For many of our immigrant families, some community was lost by moving to Canada, and often the school provides an even more important community to these children then perhaps it did to me... The place that really knows them is their school and in a school of 350 it's easy to be known.
When you talk to retired teachers, most of them don't seem to miss teaching but they often miss the camaraderie of the staffroom. Having spent four years as a consultant and returning to teaching knowing I would retire in a couple of years, I think I have been able to have a slightly different perspective, perhaps a bit more appreciative, and not so worried about annoying trivia because honestly I won't have to put up with that much longer. I can kind of focus on what is most important and what I will miss. And I have to say an afternoon of an elementary school performing hip hop might sound like some people's nightmare but for me it really was a gift for me as well as for those children and our school community.