The high school where I began teaching in the early 90's was an 'Open Spaced,' horse shoe-shaped environment. The library was situated in the middle of the second floor surrounded by a hallway; the classrooms (also open) were along the outside of the horse shoe separated into 'areas' by full or half walls. This was good for lots of reasons: the library was the center of the community and we could hold meetings there with the student body (we had only about 600 students) standing along the rail; we held concerts in the library and again all could attend and participate or not. It was also good from the stand point that we (the teachers) could see almost the whole school at a quick glance. Teaching is largely a solitary profession--one closes the door and deals with goals, lessons, disciplining within the four walls of the classroom. In an open space school, I never felt that sense of isolation: I was part and parcel of a powerful community of educators. Moreso, we were one large family. The open space obviously had negatives as well, but the negative aspects are for another blog. I loved teaching there and have many fond memories.
One time my ninth-grade English students were working on research in the glass enclosed research section of the library. After working with a few individual students I began to realize there were more kids in there than in my class -- a lot more! The stinkers had invited friends! I stood by the entrance taking a quick mental roll call and then in my best teacher voice (they used to ask me to do announcements when the PA system went down) I said, "Many of you do not belong in here. Those of you who do have work to do; those of you who do not have five seconds to depart before I begin handing out consequences!" Sternly, I pointed up to their exit route and with that gesture, as if to punctuate the end of my sentence, there occurred the loudest, earth-trembling clap of thunder we had ever heard. The kids all jumped; somehow I retained my outward cool, standing my ground pointing with both arms to the exit. As the last student hurriedly filed out, she turned to me and said, "You're good!" It's great when Mother Nature backs us up...
- I am a retired English teacher and department head, the mother of three, grand mother of three, and have been married to the same man for 42 years. I subscribe to Dr. PM Forni's concept of Civility. I was born in South Philadelphia and grew up in the 'burbs. I love soft pretzels and cheesesteaks, the Phillies, the Eagles, and San Diego. I love being Mom, Aunt Kathy, Nona Kathy, and Teacher. I spend a lot of time in my gardens in the spring and summer, and in the winter I plan what I'm going to plant. I also am an avid reader and photographer.