I have not written a post in a few weeks and am now ready to share some reflections and thoughts. I apologize for the seesaw affect if I meander between personal and professional reflections. But for me they are always intertwined and so highly connected. First I want to share my thoughts about Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, as I spent time in my temple, synagogue, “shul”; my terms for my house of worship. In my cloistered Jewish world I refer to this sanctuary as a shul. With more my modern friends (those whose parents and grandparents didn’t come from the “shtels” of Europe), as a synagogue. And with almost everyone else, it is my temple. During the prayer service my eyes often wandered away from the text and looked around the building. The walls are painted with beautiful murals showing significant artifacts to Jews. The beautiful stained glass windows depict some biblical stories. Then there is the bimah with the Torah waiting to be read. Here, too, the cantor and the choir heralded in the New Year; and the Rabbi stood, guiding the congregants in prayer. I set the stage as best I can to explain my feelings of sadness, knowing it is time to move on and say good bye to my “shul;” a place that filled me with joy, as my children, family and friends shared so many memorable holidays together. Most were wonderful occasions, but there were times we needed to say good bye to those who passed away. This “shul” was always filled to capacity and no one was turned away; whether member or not there was always room for one more. So with heavy heart I looked around and saw how few congregants were left. No small children so to speak; mainly elderly and a few, my peers. I knew the property had been sold but thought this year would still have a quasi “filled” look. When I saw this was not to be, I realized it was time to say good bye. No getting ready for next year, no wondering who I would see again; catching up with old acquaintances. It was time to close this book. I still have the rest of the High Holy Days to spend in my “shul”, but then I will let go and move on.
And this is a good place to bring in my reflections and connections to my work. My kindergarten class is diverse in personalities as any group of children. We are still getting to know each other; we are building community. My kinders are learning to adapt to a new program; the ins and outs of being a “kindergartener.” They are learning to integrate the familiar with the new. They, too, are learning how to let go, as they meet the challenges of change. And the teacher’s role is one so comforting and familiar to me. I am there as a facilitator, a conduit and a conductor if you will? Here in our room, our class, our school they get to explore their learning as they have the “gift of time.”
Last week at our Lower Elementary Division meeting our division head sent us all this note that I share with you,
As you can read in her note, the idea of preparing children for the next grade is antithesis of the pedagogy for teaching and learning of young children that I embrace.
And so the kinders enjoy the collaborative work that produces wonderful art.
I would like to hear your thoughts about “getting ready/preparing” students for next year.