Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Slice of Life Tuesday: Striking the Set


Montessori teachers call cleaning up their classrooms at the end of the year "Striking the Set." Just like you have to take down the scenery after the last performance of a play, so you take down the carefully-thought-out scenery of your room, all the things you hung up or placed just so to facilitate learning. Of course, for us, as for teachers around the world, there have been multiple sets this year. Sometimes it was a Zoom screen where we taught, sometimes the online portal where we'd posted lessons, and sometimes - really quite often for us, thankfully - our classrooms. But really, every year there are multiple sets. You don't ever know where and when and how the learning is taking place, and quite often it's not where and when and how you think. I know that from kids who come back and tell me the thing they remember best about my class, and I lean forward, excited to find out what it is...and it's usually something like, that story I told (what story - could it have been from a different teacher?), or the fact that I had bean bag chairs in my room that they could use for silent reading. Rarely is there a word about the lessons I polished so lovingly.

So anyway, I'm striking my set today, but before cranking the Paul Simon music to which I traditionally do this task, I first went out birding on our campus and saw/heard six species, all familiar friends to me by now: House Sparrows, Mourning Doves, Antillean Palm-Swift, Gray Kingbirds, Hispaniolan Lizard-cuckoo, and two tiny Vervain Hummingbirds. How did I learn all those names and how to recognize each one so easily? Months and months of daily birding, checking my app, reading my bird books, consulting eBird. 

Back to my room to strike the set, and to reflect on how glad I am that the other set will stay up all summer and still be there when I get back to start again: the trees, bushes, wires, roofs of our campus, all the places where I've loved seeing birds this whole school year.


Carol Varsalona said...

Ruth, strike the set is such a wonderful term and you described it beautifully. I am amazed at how much you learned about birding this year. I imagine you will miss your bird friends and all the children that you provided such an inspired setting for them. Enjoy your end-of-school wind down.

Denise Krebs said...

Ruth, I just opened Simon and Garfunkel's Sounds of Silence to listen to. I love that image of striking the sets of school you are finished, but the birding set will remain year round, never needing striking. Have a blessed summer!