This week was really tough in our building. It seemed bad news was in the air in varying degrees. This week we had the death of a student, the announcement that a well respected and well liked vice principal was leaving, and surplus notices of six educational assistants. Whoa. Emotions were on overload this week.
As I was reflecting on my week, thinking about what “good” I could find in this week, the heavy cloud weighed on me. What I have decided to celebrate in learning, was life skills and community building. Our students had to learn some tough life skills dealing with tragedy, loss, grieving, mourning, and understanding that people experience loss in different ways. They needed to realize that another person’s way needs to be respected as much as their own personal way needs to be respected. They were trying to understand anger and frustration and coping with these overwhelming feelings can be very hard. With the help of counsellors and staff, I think we were able to reach many students and help them start down their own path of grieving.
When I use the term community building, I mean supporting each other and feeling the sense of loss as a community and not as an individual. We needed to support each other through these types of loss. I wrote earlier about thanking the “first responders” of grief. So many staff approached those who supported others and offered a kind word, and really a “thanks” for all you do. In addition, while we couldn’t personally stop transfers or movement of staff to other buildings, we can offer a word of praise, of hope, of gratitude to have worked along side some great people. This doesn’t change the situation, but reinforced our school sense of community by understanding, sharing and caring about each other in the building.
Celebrating learning this week veered off the path I usually tend to write about. But, in life and school, we don’t always stay on the path, and often taking risks makes for a better learning experience. While I won’t say these experiences were “better” I will certainly say they were valuable and necessary.