Connect. Collaborate. Risk. Innovate.

Connect. Collaborate. Risk. Innovate.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Symbiosis: Schools as Living Organisms

       


          This past week I was helping my son, who is grade six, study for a science test. One of the terms that he was reviewing was symbiosis: the interaction between two or more different organisms living in close physical association, typically to the advantage of both.
          It struck me that this concept perfectly exemplifies the numerous, complex, inter-dependant relationships that form the essential foundation of our schools. To continue the analogy, (and my apologies to my science colleagues for my rudimentary understanding of these terms) our classrooms function as microcosms of the larger school community. Schools are not simply static institutions, but fluid, vital, living organisms that are highly dependant upon the energy and sustenance provided by these impactful symbiotic relationships. 
         In this way, the relationships that I carefully and consciously nurture with my students and by extension, their parents, are as essential as those that are formed between myself and my colleagues, and between my administration and district leaders. The complex web of symbiotic relationships within the larger organism of a school are too numerous to list and I believe that if any of these reciprocal relationships are neglected, or undervalued, then the larger school community is impacted.  
          I think it is important then to be mindful of the essential role that each of us plays in sustaining the health and vitality of our school. Rather than being overwhelmed or intimidated by this responsibility, the idea that as a teacher leader, I can have a significant impact not only on the learning and well being of my students, but on the larger school community, is an empowering and invigorating notion. Regardless of our role then, we each share the responsibility, and consequent rewards, of contributing to the growth and success of our school. 

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