Building Community

June 14, 2021

By Aleta Margolis, Founder and President, Center for Inspired Teaching

Hooray for Monday is a weekly blog filled with questions, ideas, reflections, and actions we can all take to remodel the school experience for students. 

Some people equate work with something to be avoided or to get through until the weekend arrives. For teachers, this year certainly held its fair share of things to be endured. But we know that when our work has value to others and to us, and it involves collaborating with others with a shared goal, it can be something to look forward to, even a source of joy. We hope there were moments of joy for you this year as well.

In her poem “To be of use,” Marge Piercy writes

“I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.”

Surely that describes the work educators did this year.

  • We’ve strengthened relationships with families as we taught through a screen in their homes.
  • We’ve found ways to put incredible books in students’ hands without the benefit of physical libraries to browse.
  • We’ve gently reintroduced classroom communities back into the world of in-person learning and cared for one another as we reckon with the trauma of a global pandemic.
  • We’ve sparked movements for social change, including this weekend’s teacher-led protests demanding the right to teach students authentically about the complexities of our country’s history around race and gender.

In her poem, Piercy says “I want to be with people who submerge in the task.” Educators have been submerged in learning from and leaning on one another this year. We know that the need to learn and be supported doesn’t stop just because the school year ends.

As you plan your summer – whether that includes teaching summer school, taking time away from teaching, or both – I invite you to join us in engaging in joyful work here at Inspired Teaching. I am grateful for the hundreds of teachers and school leaders who have been a part of our community this year, who have worked with my colleagues and me toward our shared goal of engaging students and elevating student voices all year long. We’ll continue building our community through summer excursions, as we gather at beautiful outdoor spots to engage in useful work that will uplift and support one another. (We’re offering online sessions as well.)

Community is best built by working together toward shared goals. That’s how we’ve done it for 26 years, and we invite you to be a part of it now. We hope you will join us!

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