So this week, for my final post of the school year, I want to talk about one of my favorite things about school…maybe my most, most favorite thing of all the things that I love about coming to work each and every day. I’ve written about this before, but this past week the following sentiment has resonated with me even more profoundly than ever before. It’s something that many of us fail to pay regular attention to, or even embrace, and it might just be something that can be a little annoying or aggravating to some educators. It’s something that traditionally as schools we have tried to suppress, and something that kids sometimes get in trouble for. But if you take a step back, and drink in what it ultimately represents, then it might just become one of your favorite things too. I’m talking about the noise of a school. The beautiful noise that is the soundtrack to learning and the playlist of happiness and joy…creative, imaginative, messy, curious, triumphant and beautiful noise.
When was the last time that you took a few minutes and really listened to the noise of a school? Either walking down the halls, or doing recess duty, or being in a classroom when kids are engaged and working, or just standing outside the gym when kids are at PE, or outside the music or art room, or even when they are simply spilling off of the buses ready to tackle another day with their friends. It’s something that will make your heart want to burst if you just take the time to listen. It’s not lost on me how fortunate I am to be in a position to walk from one end of the Lower School to the other several times each day…visiting classrooms, discussing issues with teachers, catching up with specific students, and being a fly on the wall watching when kids don’t think I’m paying attention.
Lately I’ve been soaking it up a little more than usual, this noise, and it fuels my soul everyday to no end. The singing in French rooms, the songs from the early childhood kids as they transition down the corridors, the wild excitement in the discovery and possibility labs as kids work on experiments and collaborative projects, the math talk lessons and the read alouds and the book clubs and the students sharing their writing…it’s so beautiful to listen to the learning that is happening everywhere, in every classroom and in every school space, all the time.
I have to confess that the first thing that I do after a tough meeting, or a tricky conversation, or an issue that I have to deal with that takes me away from being around students, is to pop into the Field House to listen to kids at play, or head out to the playground or the cafeteria just to hear the noise of kids…it centers me and it snaps me back to what is the most important part of my job, the kids. Nothing is more joyful than the sound of a playground, with kids playing and making friends and taking risks and finding out about themselves and others, it’s just so good. It doesn’t stop there though, I also love the sound of teachers collaborating together around what’s best for kids and their learning, and the creative ideas about how to extend students, and the concerns about how to intervene with struggling students. You see, the sound of educators caring about kids is also music to my ears, and it blares loudly at full volume every day. The beautiful sound of a school…wow, how can you not love it?
This week, as we speed toward the summer holiday, I’m asking you…no, I’m begging you, to take a few minutes to slow down and listen to the noise of a school. Take a second to listen to the kids at play, or just stand back in your classrooms and listen to the sounds of learning, or come down by my office in the morning and listen to the little ones as they come in ready for another day with their teachers and friends. There is nothing more joyful or energizing and beautiful than the sound of a school in action. Take the time to listen, and it will fill your hearts just like it does mine. It might just be the best thing that you can do with your days actually. Have a wonderful week everyone and remember to be great for our students, good to each other, and make a habit of opening yourself up to the beautiful noise of the school day…you see, for us as educators, it really is the soundtrack of our lives!
Quote of the Week…
Sometimes the littlest things take up the most room in your heart – Winnnie the Pooh
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