Saturday, May 10, 2014

Thank a Teacher Day: The #Dreamteam

PPPCS Middle School Team

As we move into the last quarter of the school year, I naturally drift into a reflective state. For me, endings always bring a hyper-sensitivity, which causes me to take a step back and a look back at how I arrive where I am. The reflection of my current situation has not been as centered on my students though, but that of the people on my team and the relationships I have built over the past three years at my school.

As a professional, I have worked at three different schools in Baltimore City. My current school is the longest placement I have had thus far. For the most part, our middle school team has remained pretty consistent over those three years. Some teachers have come and gone, but the cement of our team's foundation has began to really take form this year. 

This is an incredible team of educators. This is a team of people that go above and beyond every single day to make kids' lives better than they were yesterday. These people are smart, loving, patient, and forever courageous. These people have sat with me in moments of laughter and in times of tears. We have yelled in both anger and excitement at what was going on around us. And together we have pushed ourselves and one another to grow into better teachers, and different people, than who we were when we started the year. 

This year, there has been tremendous trust and love. This year, these people moved from colleagues to people that hold a really important piece of my heart. They have held that piece, shaped it to be different, and handed it back to me so I can be better. They show me more patience, trust, grace, and love than I truly deserved. They believe in one another and together we have thrived in so many ways. 

What have I learned from this team, these relationships, this opportunity for deep and internal growth? I have learned that I am only as good as the people I surround myself with, yet we are only as good as our willingness to grow and change. I have learned that it is okay to let people make mistakes, and it is even better to let them figure out how to fix it, but the best is loving them through that process. I will forever remember what is feels like to be wrapped in support and care with a group moving towards a common goal. I will carry this body-memory of success with me into my future experiences. I will be a better teacher and leader because of our work together.

I want to take a minute to thank each of the incredible educators I am lucky enough have on my team. 

Amber Johnson - Thank you never failing to be your true, unapologetic self. Your spirit, energy, and love radiate through your drive to make everyone around you better. Thank you for listening carefully and catching the stories of our team and our students. Thank you for caring about me as a person,  as someone that has messy feelings and crazy ideas.

Jes Pegorsch -  Thank you for teaching us all how to tap into our artistic selves. Your honesty about who you are and how you feel pushes me to be braver and to feel more deeply. You have empowered our students to call themselves artists and to find their own path in self-expression.  Every single day I am learning from you and from the art you create with our students.

Adam Bradbury - Thank you for your amazing paternal nature, your kindness, and for your support of every single kid and adult that is in your space. You make us smile and yet always have your eye on the prize, pushing each of us to be a better part of a stronger whole. You model this strength every day, and we follow your lead.

Mike Hendrick - Thank you for your calm wisdom. You bring a history to our space that allows us to tap into the foundation of our school and our community. Your voice is always pragmatic and your spirit is always nurturing. In my opinion, you are by far the most interesting person on our team.

Tom Consroe - Thank you for being a quiet leader. You have an ability to push our kids to be better without them even knowing they are growing. You show us what it looks like to be compassionate and kind, even in the most frustrating moments.

Rob Glotfelty - Thank you for your dedication and drive for growth and change. I have watched you transform our students into young adults that are curious and passionate about science. You share your deep passion for the universe with us all, and it creates a space of wonder and awe. 

Ricardo Horna - Thank you for teaching us how to love what is special and unique about ourselves. Your natural passion for understanding how to inspire people oozes from your teaching. You push all of us to be proud of who we are and what we have to offer, and then you create a space where we can be courageous enough to showcase ourselves in this vulnerable way.

Greg Heid - Thank you for sharing your passion for math and challenging me to adopt a different language around your beloved subject. You have allowed me to explore what makes math beautiful and how I can appreciate math's role in art, nature, and the natural order of our universe. Thank you for helping to change perspectives. And, as always, thanks for balancing my tiger-approach with the calmness of a turtle.

These people represent the PPPCS #dreamteam. I appreciate each one of you for making me a better educator and a better person.

1 comment:

  1. Jenna - you are such a rock star!
    One of your many talents is on display here; letting other people know how awesome they are and pointing out what makes them that way.
    You are the Magic Johnson of our #dreamteam - allowing all of us to shine brighter with your guidance.
    The PPPCS middle school team is lucky to have you!
    - turtle