This afternoon thirty educators gathered in my classroom to support our preservice teachers and think about our work as educators. We do this twice a year.
We are a Professional Development School so we work closely with the university. A professor visits our school twice a week to observe and work with our interns (preservice teachers). Our staff is highly supportive of these budding teachers, not only those teachers who host them in their classrooms but their special education and ESOL coteachers, our literacy and math coaches, our librarian, everyone supports their learning.
At the end of each semester every intern shares a 'critical incident' from their teaching experience. We invite our entire staff to be there for the share. This is after school and is no way required for anyone beyond the interns.
Today there were thirty of us. Seven were the interns themselves and one was the professor. The rest were those of us who had hosted one of the interns at some point in the year, new teachers who had been interns last year, and others who came as support and to reflect and learn (including our librarian, a literacy coach, a special education teacher and an instructional assistant - none of whom can host these interns in their current roles).
I headed out of school at 5:30 this evening, having been there for nearly ten hours, feeling rejuvenated and walking on air. Times like this, when we come together to encourage one another and to grow ourselves, remind me why our school is so strong and remind me of what education can be. I'm immensely grateful for that.