Being a Part of the Community
Community is a big deal in education these days. We talk constantly about our classroom community, our school community, our municipal community, our state community, or national community, and our global community. As a classroom teacher, I focus mostly on the classroom community. I want my students to feel like we are all part of something more than ourselves. I have invited my students to musical performances and concerts, I attend our building family nights and encourage them to attend, and I try to communicate with parents regularly.
Earlier in the year, I had a student tell me about a piano recital he had, and I expressed disappointment that I hadn’t been invited to attend. Another student told me about a track meet. Yet another student participated in a math competition. I have repeatedly expressed a desire to attend and share with these special events.
Finally, some students took me up on it. Actually, it was the father of a student, who is their soccer coach. It turns out that about a third of my class participates in the Urbana Park District soccer program. He told me about their game this morning, and sent me a list of the rest of the games they have. I promised to attend, and looked forward to being a part of the classroom community that exists outside the classroom.
It was a lot of fun to be there and to cheer on my students. They were excited to see me. A classic moment happened in middle of the third quarter when one of the boys looked over and called out, “Hello, Mr. Valencic!” During the break at the half, I walked over to the team and said hello to all of them. One of the girls, upon realising I was wearing casual clothing, said, “Mr. Valencic! You look like some kind of hip college student!” I was wearing jeans, a cotton button-down shirt with a t-shirt underneath, my vintage brown leather jacket, and a fedora. It was also fun to chat with parents on the side of the field while watching the game.
I really hope to be able to participate in more of these community events. I will try to make it to the other soccer matches and I hope students will invite me to their other extracurricular activities, such as recitals, plays, and concerts.
Oh, and my kids’ soccer team won this morning.