Well, the first week was certainly a huge learning curve. Many thoughts around education and how a learning community should look like swirled around as I read policy manuals, school procedures and RTI’s.
The first day began quite quickly, with timetables handed out to students who had either lost theirs or had changed courses over the previous exam week. Before I could even begin to look at my office and try to make it more inviting, less sterile (wooden panelling and brown brick walls screeming to be decorated), my space was being used to parade several students who had ‘made mistakes’ and the process for suspensions played out. It was interesting to see what type of ‘misdeed’ resulted in various degrees of discipline. As a new-comer to the school and district, I watched carefully as paperwork, letters home and desks were set up to accomodate these students. I believe it was around 4:00 when I realised I hadn’t eaten lunch.
The second day went just as fast, with facillity requests for work orders (the grafitti on the back walls needed to be removed after a few students demonstrated their artistic talent the night before), and more letters for suspensions. I also finally had a chance to wander the halls.
The students here are, in general, an amazing group. They all helped me find different rooms, sending me a myriad of ways through the ‘old’ corridors and stairwells to find the rooms I was looking for. I can see how an administrator might miss these wonderful youths in the school, when the majority of the students that I met the first few days were all being disciplined. In this week, though, the musical started, the curling team won their regionals and are planning their trip up to Dawson Creek for the provincials, and marks started coming in for the grade twelves.
This is a vibrant, healthy school with many ‘hidden’ rooms where students are doing amazing things. My hope is that I will have a chance to see this in the coming weeks. My shelves are brimming with educational and instructional texts that I would like to re-read, especially the response to intervention (RTI).
I must add, finally, that the office staff, which I have always thought of as the heart of the school, continues to amaze with their work, compassion and understanding of how the school works.