When I started this blog a few years ago, I was writing from the perspective of a teacher outside the main classroom, as the teacher who “pulls” kids. The name “Corner Classroom” was less a geographic description and more of a way to try to convey the sense of being separate, in the corner, apart from the action.
Well, since then, I’ve joined the fray and taken on a teaching position in a “regular” classroom. I still work with mostly ELL students (I’m the designated ELL teacher for my grade, so all of the lowest level English speakers are assigned to me) but now I’m labeled a 2nd grade teacher rather than a specialist. And while you might think the label “specialist” would make you feel, well, special, in reality it makes you feel apart. We should be called “separatists”.
But now that I’m “mainstream” I’m starting to look at the metaphor of the corner a little differently. My dad was a bricklayer and he told me that they always put the best craftsman in the corner because without a strong corner, the whole building would fail. I’m so lucky to be working with a team of teachers who can all take responsibility for a corner. I’m going to take a careful look at my corner of the team. Am I helping to build a solid foundation?
Looking forward, I’m going to spend some time building my corner so the whole foundation is stronger, thinking about what that might look like, what responsibilities I should take on and what guilt I should let go. I’m going to try to look at my classroom as one of the crucial corners of the school, strengthening my students not just for improved test scores (perhaps least of all for that) but to build a solid community of learners.