While waiting for a phenomenal performance from students at Lapel Elementary School, I delighted in the electric anticipation that always precedes a class play. Nervous whisperers behind the scenery gave each other last minute instructions and words of encouragement. Proud parents prepared their cameras to be sure they captured this “scrapbook worthy” childhood moment, and the teacher multi-tasked and problem solved with incredible patience and skill. When it was time for “lights, camera, action,” I was swept away by the children’s rendition of a Native American legend called, “Pushing Up the Sky.” In the play, the chiefs of various tribes gather together to decide how to solve their “low-hanging” sky problem. In the end, the people and animals from differing tribes discover that if they all push at the same time, they can move the sky. Giggles joyfully erupted when one cloud accidently got knocked down, but the composure recovery was remarkable as the actors remembered to “Stay calm, and carry on.” Applause erupted, bows were taken, children waved at their beaming parents, and I snuck a peek at the teacher. I know she had to be exhausted. Yet the look on her face spoke volumes. As she smiled proudly at her young actors and actresses basking in the attention and glory, she seemed to be thinking, “It was worth it.”
The teachers at Lapel Elementary School live out this play every day. They know the importance of working together, and they collaborate to push their students to incredible heights. I’m sure every once in a while, a “low hanging cloud” gets knocked down, but these teachers seem like the type who “Stay calm, and carry on.” The students at Lapel are enthusiastic, creative learners who have an entire staff working together to give them those gentle nudges upward. As a teacher, it’s always refreshing to be reminded that I don’t have to tackle my classroom challenges alone.
In fact, this year, I’ve been continually impressed with the spirit of collaboration evident in our Indiana schools. I certainly don’t see a “my bulletin board is prettier than your bulletin board” attitude. Instead, teachers understand that meeting our current educational challenges will require everyone pushing together. Through collaboration, we are able to enjoy the thrill of sitting back and saying, “It was worth it.” Thank you, Lapel Elementary School, for showing me your collaborative spirit. Today, I celebrate you!