Middle English enspire, from Old French inspirer, from Latin inspirare ‘breathe or blow into,’ from in-‘into’ + spirare ‘breathe.’
When I tell people I am teacher, I always add, “but not a real teacher.” Then I explain how my main function is to be the IB coordinator at our school, which I then explain as a position that helps teachers develop and work on curriculum and its components within certain framework.
Truth be told, mostly, I organize.
This week I spent a lot of time organizing BLT meetings, field trips, document storage, district surveys, a behavior matrix, planners in Managebac, visitation from Kent State. I typed a lot. I emailed others a lot. I creates and shared google docs a lot.
But today? Today, my friends? I was inspired as if I had been blown into with new energy.
Over the course of many years, the teachers at Fernway have developed inquiry units and all of the pieces and parts that go with those units. It’s a broad and engaging set of learning experiences and I’m very proud of the work we have done.
But a couple of weeks ago many of us attended the Service Learning workshop with Cathryn Berger Kaye and her ideas have been stewing around in my head. Today was the day they decided to bound their way into our grade level meetings.
I was juiced up when the 2nd grade teams liked my idea to flip their next unit and lead with action. From the get go, students are going to have to figure out how they can raise enough money to help support a micro-economy in a third world country. Second grade!
Then in the third grade meeting, we discussed doing more “under direction” of students such that they might end up doing passion projects related to an element of culture. Maybe someone will study the pastries of France. Maybe someone will study the origins of Kente cloth. Then we just kept rolling…maybe they could hold a mini-exhibition…maybe it could be tied to the international feast…maybe we will decide to take further action to help the hungry nearby while we feast…maybe instead of multi-layered rubric we will try a “one point” rubric to increase student reflection.
Maybe we could, maybe they will, if we tried – the whole day was filled with ideas that will build a better iteration of the good work we are already doing.
I was so excited at one point in the afternoon, I noticed my hands were shaking and my speech was quickening. I was that pumped by the shifts we were imagining together. It was a full-on dorkfest of the charismatic kind.
All of this is to say that today felt like the kind of day I always dreamed about when I started teaching. Creative, energetic, the best minds coming up with the best ideas.
Also today erased and stomped on the idea I have been floating around about moving to retirement. All because I knew my gifts were being used and given a long leash.
That’s what happens when we are at our best. The people around us give us the free range to riff and jam. The people around us get caught in the current. The team unifies around something it has never attempted before but knows it can do.
Once inspired, we conspire to aspire to new heights.
Thank you, second grade team. Thank you, third grade team. I am so grateful you let me be me and that, together, we made the big leaps we made today.
Wow. Yes. Oh yeah.