Community building in the educational profession is important for teachers, students, administration, staff, parents and the whole community. This month, I have enjoyed reflecting about how I try to build community in my classroom with my students. In the future months, the topic of community will certainly be further explored.
What I have discovered and rediscovered is that the biggest part of building community is in creating experiences with your students. When I stop and take time and really DO something with my class, the benefits are nearly immediate. We smile together, laugh together, realize things together but mostly we share – share a common experience with one another. It’s a beautiful thing…
Just yesterday, I was able to share a great experience with my class as we continued to write our Erosion Blues. There I was playing the piano as groups of students came by and started singing the lyrics they had written. As I looked up, I saw the rest of my class singing along, tapping their feet, moving and dancing - PURE JOY! Wow! That will be a memory for all of us.
I know a second grade teacher who is not afraid to bring her students outside during the school day. No worries about not sticking closely to the plan for the day, because she knows how much her students will get out of an outside experience. This is not a teacher who one would call aloof, her feet are firmly set and she is very serious about education. The thing is that she is certain that her students will benefit from a common experience and from that experience she shapes ways for her students to learn. They learn about nature and about the value of getting inspired by something. Oftentimes their experiences are what prompt them to write - to really write from the heart and gut.
When we have a true experience, then we can really learn more about ourselves and others. And that’s one thing that can really help build community!