I used to think that a quiet coffee location was best for my weekly writing morning. Actually, I think the bustle of my neighborhood Starbucks lends itself more to ideas for writing material.
This morning, I was trying to focus on an idea that came to me in the car; however, I continued to be drawn to a neighboring conversation.
I didn’t mean to eaves drop. I wasn’t intentionally spying or passing judgment.
But I couldn’t stop.
There was a large table occupied by a group of loud and contrasting opinions. The debating consumed the space and it was impossible to ignore.
There were computers and notebooks and lots of caffeine. Voices and hand gestures grew as the conversation heightened.
Was this a family in crisis? Was it neighbors trying to settle a dispute about their property line?
They were educators discussing curriculum for a local private school.
As an educator myself, I know that there is a lot of passion when it comes to strategies, philosophies, and best practices.
I have been part of many discussions where there are varying perspectives and in the end, no one person wins, but the goal of this sometimes hard collaboration is to create the best option, the best direction. One that everyone can get behind and support for the good of the whole.
Everyone is there for the kids. That is a given. That very fact can also be the hardest part because we often have conflicting views of what is best.
This is very apparent with my neighbors trying to hammer out the decisions for their program that line up with their mission statement. The very reason why a family might choose their school instead of their traditional neighborhood school.
It was easy to see who I would “side with” if I was part of the discussion.
It took every ounce of energy not to jump in and share. I didn’t, but I really wanted to…so I bought another drink and continued to listen.
Pieces of their individual sermons touched my heart. The words expressing what I wish for my students and my son: the encouragement, the importance of creativity, the compassion for each learner and their unique interests. Teaching at their level instead of housing them until dismissal time.
Others spoke of the fear of missing information and the importance of all students receiving the same work despite previous experiences or skills; those that finish early can help others in need.
I listened and filtered the information first as an educator and secondly as a parent of a quirky, intense, sensitive, introvert.
Who am I kidding…the parent part of me was listening.
I knew which teachers my son would connect with and which ones would struggle with his opinions, his sensory issues, and his out of the box problem solving.
After a long discussion, they gathered up their things and left. From the outside it didn’t appear that any real decisions were formed and I am curious about who “won.”
I hope the kids win. I hope the families that seek something different win.
If you were designing a school, what would be the mission statement?