It Takes A Village To Raise A Child

As another year of learning is counting down and it is time for our learning community to show our appreciation to each other and the people who have helped us be so successful. I start by holding a classroom meeting where we look at our classroom Wall of Fame and reflect on how successful we have been both individually and collectively. The visual reminder of all of our accomplishments never ceases to being out smiles, laughter and a rousing chat session. I then ask them “Who has helped us all be successful?”. They respond with the obvious, their teachers, and the principal. As we delve deeper into this question, the list begins to significantly grow. The custodian who ensures our classroom is ready to go each day and allows us to be creatively messy sometimes. The secretary who always keeps us informed and has organized many of our activities. The librarian clerk who always seems to have the books we need. Their parents who have supported them in so many ways outside of school. The Occasional Teachers who have filled in and assisted them throughout the year. Parent volunteers who have supported activities in our school throughout the year. Teachers who have organized assemblies, special events and coached sport teams or choirs. Finally they discover how much they have supported each other in the year long journey.

The next part of the classroom discussion shifts to how do we show our appreciation to these people. It is quickly discovered that the best way to show our appreciation is to tell them how much their efforts were  appreciated. This is where the leadership shifts to the students. In small groups the students are  assigned key people to whom they are responsible for talking to on behalf of our classroom.Those messages are personally delivered over the last two weeks. We send a letter to our Occasional Teacher Local thanking the teachers who have been in our classroom this year.

As our community time draws to an end I ask them to write end of the year messages to each other. A chance to say thank you for the support, friendship and fun they had together. This message is kept secret until the last day of school where they are shared via video tape. I always view the draft of the message prior to filming is done. As a teacher, I also get to send my message to my students to thank them for helping me become a better person and teacher. It is now time for our village to move on.

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The Author

Mike Beetham

I am currently entering my 32nd year of teaching and work with the Waterloo Region District School Board in an area behaviour class. I am actively involved with ETFO at both the local and provincial level. My passions are my family, teaching, the outdoors and personal fitness.

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