There’s bad winter weather in the forecast again this week, and if Ms. X and Mr. Y aren’t feeling rushed and frantic yet, they probably will be when they next take a look at The Pacing Guide or Last Spring’s Lesson Plans. And yet, faced with the possibility of another snow day or two, Many A Ms. X and Mr. Y tends to respond with gleeful anticipation … and then with bitter despair if it happens not to snow, and with even more bitter despair when the inevitable makeup days arrive. Is there something about factory-model schools that encourages, even creates this tendency to rush into things? Are Ms. X and Mr. Y, especially the ones who never seem to make the connection between weather-related closure now and unwanted makeup day later, acting child-like or childish? And what’s the difference between child-like and childish in any case?
I’ve been trying to connect these threads all weekend, and I’m not quite sure how they connect just yet. I’ve also been busy ferrying The Girl and The Boy around, and of course there were Those Lesson Plans to write and the relevant materials to revise or create. I spent some quiet, productive time at the Local Coffee Shop on Sunday evening, slowly sipping coffee as I worked to produce plans and materials … and as I worked, I half-noticed how the Sunday evening crew, whom I’ve come to know fairly well, manage the early evening rush without getting rushed and frantic themselves. There’s an odd form of temporary community that often appears in “third places” like the Local Coffee Shop, and it was especially evident last night … or maybe I was just especially receptive to it as I tried to work productively, but not to rush through my short but important list of tasks. And it was still on my mind this morning as I rose a bit early to finish the last few things.
A workplace, whether it’s a joyful learning community or a factory-model school, shop floor, or office, can’t be a “third place” because, by definition, it’s a “second place,” just as home is the “first place” in that model. But you can still build joyful community in a “second place” … and one way to do that, I think, is not to rush. That’s hard when there are tasks to complete and timelines to follow, but it’s really important.
And I hate to rush off, but I have a few things to do this morning! I wonder what other insights we’ll all generate, and what other connections we’ll see, as we work to build, sustain, and grow communities and as we strive not to rush today!