This past week included many of the same issues that arose in the first week. I seem to have become more comfortable with calling parents, talking to students and trying to find the line between punitive and restorative discipline. This will, I believe, continue until I stop being an educator. A few issues, however, have stood out, all of which pertain to the School Code of Conduct.
I read the school’s code of conduct (especially after I had ‘disciplined a student’ and then the student’s friends came to ‘make their case’ and to “free” the student in question). It is posted on the hallway, printed in the school’s agenda and seems, like many schools I have worked in, become the invisible and intangeable code (like mission statements and visions) that are there, but are rarely known. As like most schools and districts, the code talks about respect, community, learning and the environmnet to create a safe place for all students to succeed (in some schools and districts, they may state the “each student” in place of “all students”).
So, where does this leave me? In the Fall, the ground will be broken for the construction of a new school. One that will try to embody all the elements of an educational system not yet dreamed of (however it may look). The design forces collaboration, creativity, incorporation of technology, community and many of the other C’s from the literature of 21st Century Learning. As admin, we are working on an elevator speech. One that encapsulates all the concepts of the new school (whatever they may be; although personalised learning and 21st century will surely be in the vocabulary….). Thoughts of the school is like a(n)….iPad….Facebook…..stream…..watershed….plasterceine…..all are put on the table.
I liked the watershed, as it implies direction (although down) and a common purpose. It doesn’t really start or end and requires many many parts for it to be successful: no one part is more important. The geography or physical elements are set in ways that accomodate the movement of the water, animals and plants that all work together in an intricate web. The concepts of growth, change, mulitple pathways and entry points, assessments of success (not measured by the pathway, but surveyed through the pathway and ultimately measured by the mouth of the river). The end points of the watershed, usually a delta, could be seen as a place where one can move forward in their own direction, either continuing within the watershed system, or moving out into anywhere in the world.
I guess what I really see from this is not that the watershed is the ultimate in metaphors for the school, but that my philosophy and pedagogy is changing (as it has changed since I began teaching and built upon and morphed with each new experience).
Perhaps, with all this reflection, I will come to terms with the disciplinary part of the job, the parental contacts, the teacher contacts (especially when job action is over….), and student contacts.
I really can’t finish without mentioning that although I met a lot of students this week for certain ‘behavioural choices’, I also met some fantastically talented students with compassion, care and brilliance. I guess it all balances out…..here’s to next week!