I tweeted this image earlier today showing my work spot for the day. I had many days this summer due to weather, meetings, summer school that were spent inside or in my office. It was probably the most time that I had spent inside that space in a long time…and any administrator (or human) will tell you that takes a toll on you after a while.
We just installed a new table in my office that will allow for large groups to meet comfortably…that’s been a big deal for us. We used to huddle around a smaller table looking like a bunch of linebackers sitting at the world’s smallest coffee table! The new table is amazing, but the stain is still pretty strong (two days of headaches later, I figured it out) and thus I set up my office on the front porch!
As we were putting the table out there and I started setting up my computer the staff that were near looked at me, waiting for me laugh and head back inside, but that didn’t happen. Instead, I stayed outside the whole day. I caught the breeze, waved to scholars in one of our summer programs as they walked past to get to the playground, talked to visitors as they came to the front door…it was wonderful! One person that was visiting the school said, “It’s wonderful to see you out here and working on things!” At that time I had a bunch of charts out on the table and was sorting through data, so we talked a bit about what I was doing. It seemed to provide a lot of information, comfort and an opportunity to support.
This got me thinking about something that a group of educators and I observed when we visited the Mission Hill School. Ayla Gavins, the Principal there, explained to us a philosophy they had there. The office area is very open, very public and very accessible. Staff, students and families interact free of walls. She described the concept of letting scholars see what the “work” looks like.
As I sit and look out over the field in front of the school right now and type this I think there’s a lot of sense in that concept.