Dismissal time comes and goes every day and every day I start to worry a little bit. Our school procedure is involved. It requires me to walk with my students through the hallways to various drop of points and then taking my bus riders outside to their individual buses.
I worry about this time of day. I have a clipboard with daily sheets for our “going home” plans. Changes happen and I note them with post it notes. I “lost” a kindergartener once and quickly found her in a different drop off location but I’ll never forget that worry and shutting my classroom door to burst into tears. I am blessed to spend each day with my students and I think my biggest job is to get each student back home safely to their families.
It was about a month or two into this school year and we were getting organized for dismissal. The students had their backpacks. They were sitting at the carpet and I had started to line them up according to the order of their drop off location. Everything seemed to be in order when I heard, “George come here, she already called your name. Right here is where bus 51 goes.”
I watched and thought, Bingo; we have a classroom community! It was such a small moment and one that could be easily over looked. A student was looking out for a classmate and wanted to make sure he was on the bus with him to go home. I wish you could have heard his voice; the helping student had a kind and caring inflection. A nurturing voice with a sense of urgency.
When do you know…what small things can we look for to confirm there is a community in our classroom? These two boys don’t necessarily share common characteristics or interests besides attending our classroom together but I would add to the dictionary’s definition of community to include – individuals who spend a lot of time together and care about each other; showing acts of kindness.