There is an intimacy found with colleagues who are passionate about literacy and children’s learning that I find nowhere outside these circles. When we sit together and share our learning, our thoughts, our resources and concerns, the talk often stretches from minutes into hours. Our discourse takes twists and turns that lead us to new awarenesses, new understandings, and new takes on how to reach students entrusted to our care. If people understood these discussions that often take place at happy hours, lunches, after school in classrooms, or when we encounter one another at the grocery store, they would warm to the embrace of our public schools. These discussions are all about how to best serve the students in our lives. They are about what matters most.
“Let’s quit talking shop” a colleague asserts. And certainly we can also connect over family, marraiges, travel and other social events. But we can do that with others too. And truthfully – everything is “shop” with this group. We learn how to improve our practice by reflecting on the truths of our personal experiences. And there is noone – not spouse, nor family nor friends outside the world of education – who can connect on this level to the important work we do. I wonder if people in industry connect over the work they do. I hope so, for there is little so rewarding as being heard and growing one’s world view through discussions with cherished colleagues, partners and collaborators whose practice has helped to shape my own across more than a decade.
Rufus Jones, Quaker historian & theologian once wrote, “I pin my hopes to quiet processes and small circles, in which vital and transforming events take place.”
Give yourself time for these quiet circles and exchanges. It would is there that real change takes place.