I have a love – hate relationship with the week before school starts. Sure, I have an impossibly long list of things I’d like to do before students arrive on Monday. Sometimes PD makes my head hurt. Some important tools and information are still “missing.” But it is the only time when all of the teachers are together. We share our ideals, our philosophies, our challenges. What is unknown about the year is a source of our unique excitement. Learning from teachers is power.
This morning the AP Spanish teacher, who has been teaching at our school for 30 years, asked me to help her create an account on turnitin.com. After the morning’s PD, we met in the computer lab for what I thought would be a brief signing up and signing in. I must have forgotten that I was in Honduras, because, before we even turned on a computer, we spent 20 minutes sharing thoughts on last year’s AP scores, updates from college-bound students, goals for our respective AP classes this year. I realized that we really only knew each other through students’ in our own classes: “Ms. Escobar told us that romanticismo was 100 years later in Spanish literature.” “We already read a Borges story in AP Lit.” Learning from students is power.
At some point we created a TurnItIn account, and I forgot about my ‘para hacer’ list. An hour and a half later we were leaving the lab, and I thanked my AP Spanish counterpart for inviting me to the computer lab to help her. She isn’t afraid to try new things, to share her convictions, to admit her faults. Somehow our time together today closed gaps (real or imagined) between experienced and new teachers, local and foreign teachers, English and Spanish teachers. Communication is power.
At the end of the day, I was going to do yoga in one of my colleague’s classrooms. Instead learned that we lost another student to kidnapping, so we cried and questioned. Support and fear are power.
Tonight Hondurans all over the world are celebrating a soccer victory over Costa Rica. Soccer is one thing that everyone can agree on. Soccer is power.
Finally, a member of my English Ed cohort posted a suggestion to the rest of us on Facebook: Let’s take on a hearty enjoyment of life and care a great deal about many things. We can teach anything we care a great deal about. Small things that reconnect and revitalize us are power.