Woke up this morning, I suddenly realized, we’re all in this together. – Ben Lee
This is a post that has been ruminating in my head for 6 months now. Wonderful lyrics in a great song and lots of ties into what learning and school culture needs to emulate. The post is all the more fitting now as I have started the next phase of my career in education – administration.
So at the start of August, it was time for me to introduce myself to staff then later students and parents as the new HS Dean of Students. What was I going to say? What am I about? What will it be like with me in this role?
And this song kept running through my head.
I’m made of atoms. You’re made of atoms. And we’re all in this together.
What schools need to be is a place where students do more than avoid doing what’s wrong. Instead they do what’s right. A school should be a place more than of rules and consequences – it should be a culture of looking out for each other, protecting those being picked on and taking a stance against bullying.
And this doesn’t come from a Vice-Principal or Dean of Students who plays the “bad guy”. It comes from a community of teachers and adults who understand that setting the boundaries up is EVERYONE’S JOB. Not noticing or turning a blind eye to infractions, bad language, or inappropriate behavior is equivalent to endorsing it. I (t)asked our faculty to become part of that school culture. To help me build it so that students understood that the boundaries are consistent, not haphazard.
And long division just doesn’t matter, cuz we’re all in this together.
But even with that, we are talking about a student culture here as well. Too often I see school cultures of Us vs Them. In my introduction to students I reminded them that teachers, counselors, administrators, and students all want the same thing – for the student to have a successful 4 years with us that allows them to be successful beyond those 4 years. Now right now, maybe our picture of what that success looks like, may be different than the students’ vision. Even so, they are certainly IN THE SAME DIRECTION. The boundaries exist to ensure success for all students. We are all in this together.
Students need to be reminded that we are all working in the same direction, working towards similar in not identical goals. Adults in the building need to be part of this process and students need to understand that they are.
Every twelve seconds someone remembers that were all in this together.
As I and so many have written in the edu-blogosphere, our students face an unpredictable future. It’s all changing so fast. For them. For us. Navigating this change and preparing ourselves for that uncertain future is our task. And “building understanding” requires more than coursework comprehension, more than expertise in communication, collaboration, and creation. It requires building community.
Building real understanding between people so that we all look out for each other and do what’s right.
The city’s changing, cuz we are changing and we’re all in this together.
This is the role of educators. It must be the culture of schools.
This is the responsibility of school leaders.
Understanding is strangers and cultures realizing that we are all in this together. That we need each other to be successful must be the culture of education.
“On the subway, we feel like strangers, but we’re all in this together.”
It is my task to help make this our school culture. Wish me luck.
Ask a scientist. It’s quantum physics. We’re all in this together.
“Mucho Jacks” image by laszlo-photo, used under Creative Commons