As a parent at LMS and before I started working here, my favorite day of the week was Thursday. I left work and picked up my boys at noon, and we spent the afternoon together. Their memory is that we “always had pancakes at that place in Watertown Square” or “had lots of picnics in the park” or “went to the rocket playground or the motorcycle playground.” We did those things. We also came home for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and did “home stuff.” I did not think much about what was going on at LMS on Thursday afternoons.
Now I know, so let me tell you.
This afternoon at 12:30 all staff met together, as we always do, for “Announcements.” We pass a talking item – a bead bar or an ovoid or some other classroom material – so everyone has an opportunity to contribute. A sampling of “Announcements:”
Open House for everyone Saturday, November 18 from 10-12. I’ll let you know about parking and the van shuttle.
Thank you, Tricia and Sheila, for helping us move the kids’ backpacks inside from the playground this morning when it suddenly started to pour.
A toddler saw the moon in the sky above the Children’s House and asked how it got there, and I asked, How do you think it got there? Big Mike put it there!
Many of us eat our lunch during Announcements, having just come from noon dismissal of the children. Sometimes we celebrate the month’s birthdays with ice cream or brownies or pie. Not everyone is with us because BASP staff are teaching and some part-time teachers are not at school on Thursdays. But I appreciate that most of us can see each other together for that short 20 or 30 minutes every week.
At one o’clock we begin a more formal meeting. Tarrence ran today’s meeting for the full staff, a follow-up to our diversity work with Peggy McIntosh last winter and spring. Last week we prepared as a full staff for Montessori Across the Ages. Earlier this fall we practiced an emergency evacuation; Kathleen the school nurse trained us in the use of epi-pens; Diana presented some of what she learned this summer about the value of singing as a community.
Sometimes these Thursday meetings are for a smaller group of teachers. An Early Education specialist gave two workshops for Children’s House teachers. Elementary and Middle School teachers have two workshops over the next month with Rob Salafia in his capacity as vice-president of the Authentic Leadership Institute. The same group will also spend a Thursday afternoon with a consulting occupational therapist.
On Thursdays when teachers do not have a professional presentation or workshop, they meet with their Task Force (which for 2013-14 are: International Initiatives, Service Learning, Admission and Attracting Families of Color, Community Development Initiatives, Anti-Bias Education, Energy Consumption, LMS 50th celebration), work on curriculum review (this year history and geography, Spanish), change out materials on the shelves in the classroom, plan upcoming lessons, update record-keeping for each student, catch up on website updates and emails, and during conference and report periods, work on individual student reports.
To make the experience for children the best it can be, LMS teachers grow professionally and continue to learn, keep their classrooms appealing and engaging, think deeply and carefully about our children, work together to make the community the caring and professional place that it is. And a lot of this they do on Thursday afternoons. A tall order for just a couple of hours a week.
So now my Thursday afternoons are different, and, despite my love for this job and my colleagues, I miss the ones I had with my boys eight, nine, ten years ago. So I try to find them on Saturdays and Sundays.