Community

“Of all the habits of mind modeled in schools, the habit of working to understand others, of striving to make sense of differences, of extending to others the assumption of good faith, of working towards the enlarged understanding of the group -in short, the pursuit of community- may be the most important” (Grossman, Wineburg, and Woolworth, 2001, p. 1000).

This week’s readings surrounding Professional Learning Communities (PLC) really hit home in regards to the staff at my school. Our staff meeting this week was suppose to be focused on professional development regarding a literacy component. Before the meeting began to take its planned course a few people had some announcements. One thing led to another and discussion broke out about frustrations and concerns teachers had about the relationships between the staff and between the staff and administration.  Do to the unique situation our building has, two school under one roof, tension has more opportunity to fester. Teachers were concerned about a divide that is beginning to occur between the staff especially because the students have very different needs (e.g. one being a Title 1 school, the other not.)

Though the discussion was left unsettled I am glad that it was allowed to occur. And, though the conversation wasn’t executed in the most professional or effective manner I am glad that someone  had the courage to speak out when they felt the community of learners amongst teachers was slipping in the wrong direction. Just like our students, adults can’t learn when they are anxious or unhappy. Taking risks is a requirement of effective PLCs. If we do not have faith and trust in each other, if we do not strive to make sense of our differences (whether it be between schools, teachers, or students) if we do not put the importance of the building, as a whole, being a community of learning – we will fail.