Building Classroom Community
As a high school mathematics teacher for 18 years, I sometimes felt that some topics would be better addressed in other classes, like history or social studies. I can recognize now that I was afraid of somehow doing something wrong or saying the wrong thing or not having the skills to manage conflict if it were to arise. For me sticking to Mathematics was easy. I have come to understand how wrong I was, that creating a classroom community that is safe and open includes being open to conversations and in the end will support the teaching of mathematics. This past December, Matt Larson wrote another statement “We teach more than mathematics” that truly resonates with me. “As educators we need to simultaneously maintain our commitment to democratic principles and our role in the democratic process, including the constructive and inclusive exchange of differing points of view, while simultaneously always standing against any act by anyone that threatens the well being of students” (Para 4).
So as we get started on this new school year, work as a school to support each other in the development of your school community. Look to your colleagues to improve your skills and share ideas.
Consider the development of your classroom environment and how you will build a community that expresses kindness and support. Have a conversation with your students about what kindness and support look like, sound like and feel like. Make those expectations clear and have your students help monitor those expectations.
The start of this school year begins as any other year has, with both excitement and anticipation. Welcome Back to School!!