“Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing.” Rollo May
I’m excited about meeting a new part of my community tomorrow. I’ll be welcoming to my classroom 20 new students, their parents, and families. From my experience, my small room will be filled with more than 50 eager people. All eyes will be looking at me for some sort of assurance that we will be working together to help each individual excel in a safe and loving environment.
I love this time of year, because it is my first opportunity to help build our sense of community. There are some key points that I hope everyone takes away tomorrow.
Everyone who loves helping children grow is welcome in our classroom. In my welcome speech, in the decorating of the classroom, and with a great big smile, I hope everyone feels welcomed. Most important, I want each person to know that the classroom really is a community. Each parent and child needs to feel warmly welcomed there. We invite and encourage community participation. Parents who really love children can become a part of our community. I must thank my child’s third grade and kindergarten teacher. Both of these ladies made me feel welcome in their classrooms, and I knew that I wanted to do the same for other parents in my classroom.
Each child is uniquely gifted, and we encourage each one to use those gifts. It seems strange to offer a gifted program, and yet there are students who do fit into that category. On the other hand, it’s my strong belief that each child has gifts they need to discover and use in the classroom. From year to year, it’s fun to imagine myself as a doctor looking at each child and recommending ways for them to grow. When I think of the number of patients a doctor cares for each day, I like to imagine myself in this same role, making prescriptions for each student.
Our classroom will be filled with students who learn to love each other. Some years, students just blend together well. Other years, it takes more creativity to help students work together. I love the beginning of the year, because teachers have a window of opportunity to build the community in a unique way. My favorite memories are the beginning times. Students learn that loving one another is a highly expected and encouraged trait in our class. I’ve heard it said not to smile until December. I can’t imagine not smiling on the first day.
When you go about your day tomorrow, remember me in my little corner of the world. This is my first opportunity to help build a new classroom community. What are some ways that you encourage community in the places you live and work?