Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Home and Community

After our staff meeting the other day about huge demographic swings and our "school's report card," I got to thinking about my school and the students there.  I was thinking that most of our students don't know a single thing about the man our school was named after.  There is very little history in the school about the students who were there in the past. In fact, the most historical evidence of who we are as a school community comes only from the teachers who have been there for the last twenty years.  They understand who we are as a community, and they come through whenever there is a family in need or with a sick relative, or a baby is born with special medical needs.  Teachers understand this sense, but what about the students ? How can we teach them about what community means?  How can we foster a sense of unity and unified identity as "tigers."  What does it mean to be a "tiger?"  What are our strongest attributes and accomplishments?  We do address this by displaying student work.  Truly I enjoy walking down our halls and seeing what all the 4 to 11 year olds are doing.

Students spend the majority of their waking hours at school.  They need to feel valued as a student and community member to find purpose and meaning in the work they are doing there. They need to feel encouraged by their peers and teachers, to meet the high expectations that we have met before and will continue to pass with flying colors in the future.  There is a storyline to this.  We all have a story, and our collective students have a story about where they have come from and what great things they have done, and this is not accounted for in the "school's report card."

I came back to this theme thinking about my own personal life.  I have been living in Green Bay now for seven years. I don't have family there, but I do feel like I belong.  I feel like I have community.  Being a single parent, I have constraints to ensure my son spends his placement time with both his parents.  I came to think that home truly is where the people you love are, and when my son is away it doesn't feel much like home.  I have community but a shaky home.  I have grown to love my students and the people I work with much like family, and I feel very much at home where I work.  I want my students to feel that "homeyness" too.  Not all children go home to a place where they are cherished, but I hope that if they feel that way at school they will be glad to be there and do whatever it is we're doing.


  1. Dear Ms. Brown,
    I am a 44 year old female from Taiwan.
    After reading some of your stories in the blog, I feel like it would be great to work in your community as a teacher especially with someone like you. I used to teach preschoolers for a few years too and trying to provide a bilingual environment for the students. My mother tongue is Chinese.
    I am recently admitted to MA Chinese Studies at Wurzburg University in Germany. My research plan for the two year MA has a lot to doing with research on traditional Chinese education with Classics reciting method. I have been working on the research for more then 5 years and found it so rewarded. Up to this stage I have applied for two
    scholarships from the German government and the results won't come out until after later this year. During this interval period, I need somewhere to teach European preschoolers using some of this Classics reciting method as a part of my MA research. So when the semester start in September
    next year I will have sufficient materials to build up my master thesis. I am not a qualified teacher therefore would like to work with just half pay of a qualified one. I am a single parent with one 15 year old daughter. We have been home schooling in the past five years in Taiwan. My daughter spent most her childhood in New Zealand until she's turning ten so she is very much bilingual. We are on Asian vegetarian diet with a bit of eggs and dairy. Please let me know if this sounds interesting to you then we could take further steps.


  2. Miss Brown: We are hoping to hear more from you...