I named this blog The Rising Action because I thought it described this stage of life I work with well. But it is not just children that need a strong foundation. I have learned this year that having a strong support system can make or break a classroom.
This year I was lucky to work on a team with four teachers. Two of which were male and brought a whole other world to the classroom I have never been lucky enough to experience. We had the same values, but the way we executed them in our practice looked very different, which forced us to challenge our thinking and find a middle ground. The four of us challenged and supported each other – I have never been part of a group of teachers that worked so well together as we did this year, and it really did make all the difference.
Outside of my teaching team we had our directors, who pushed us to really have a firm grasp on why we did what we did, and challenged our thinking more than I think I have ever had it challenged. Our stance on risk taking, body autonomy, independence, problem solving, classroom management – all were picked at and discussed in weekly team meetings, group and independent reflection meetings. There are topics like body autonomy I have always felt so sure about that I had to see from other perspectives. This led us to question what we do, to redefine why we do it, and to at times change how we do certain things.
I am not an artist. Our atelierista is an astounding one who thinks in a way I never could. I come to her with mixed thoughts, random ideas, and a basic understanding of what I think we could do and she clears it up into a concrete plan. I say I want to add pretty and shiny things to the garden and she lists actual materials and provocations we could do, and sets up time to do it with us. She is thoughtful, creative, and organized in a way I could never be.
Then there are all of the other teachers, our pedagogista, and our families. All play an important role in our classroom.
I have yet to find an approach outside of Reggio Emilia that supports their teachers quite in this way, or that understands the value of questioning each other and ourselves. This year would have looked very differently if I did not have the support system in place that I did. I am excited to see how my approach, and that of those around me, continue to change.