The lights are off. I'm moving about my classroom taking down chairs we turned over the night before to end our day and to help our custodian sweep underneath. There's a rhythm in movement and sound as I take each chair down and I began pondering, why. Why for over 20 years of teaching do I take down each student's chair when I arrive to the classroom?
The quick answer is my mentors did this in my old district; but there is more as I keep asking why. Yes, the chairs are heavy. Yes, taking down the chairs can be a bit loud when it's more than one. Those are just obvious reasons and if it's been a routine my whole teaching career there has to be more. I keep probing deeper and realize, it's more inviting. I want the students to feel the room is ready for learning and being together. The room looks more open. The table tops look more inviting. I hope this brings a feeling of encouragement and a feeling of comfort.
I then think about the end of the day when my students help put the chairs up for the night. It's louder. It's noisier. It's quicker but I feel it's the responsible thing to do to help our custodian with his cleaning. I'm wondering now if this is a signal, a routine to say our day is done. Our tables are not inviting now. We need to go home and rest.
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