I love my job. Every day is something different, a challenge, and often a joy. Teaching young children I have the power to make a difference in their lives, the lives of their families, and hopefully an impact on society. If you have read my blog before you know that I have very strong political opinions… I am a liberal, believer in universal healthcare, pro-choice, anti organized religion, LGBTQ supporting, science believing, spiritual, singing, dancing, mother, wife and teacher. Most of those things I leave at the door. I do not bring my politics and other controversial beliefs into my classroom or impose them on my students. I just don’t. It wouldn’t be fair or right to do so.
When my students cheered because Trump won the election I said that many people were happy and that I hoped he would be a great president. I try to promote the idea that all presidents wanted to make our country a better place for us all. We wrote our letters of congratulations to President Trump on November 9th, and mailed them off to Trump Towers… it would have been nice to get some recognition that they were received, but oh well.
I am not giving up on what I believe is right for our country. I am working in my own way to support the causes I feel most passionate about, to write, and to motivate… but I am also wanting to challenge the ideas of the opposition. If we don’t continue to challenge them, if we just sit by quietly as health care is lost, people are rounded up, and our education system is decimated we will have no one to blame but ourselves… But that is not what this post is about.
This post is about what we can do in our own towns and communities to create the world we want to live in and to leave to our children. Sadly, not everyone is willing to do what is necessary… but in my small sphere of influence, I am working to make it happen. The things I teach in Room One can be a guideline for making a better society… So, this is the beginning of a series of Room One rules that illustrate some core ideas about how to do just that. Here is just one of my rules and my thoughts about why it is important:
- If you get out of line you can have your spot back.
For years, teaching young children, I would hear ‘He got out of line, he has to go to the end!, ‘He got out of line and now he is trying to cut me!, or (with a bit of a shove) ‘He is trying to squeeze back in!’… I have heard many teachers tell their students that if they get out of line they would have to go to the end. In fact, I used to say that myself. It just felt sad and sometimes I would make an exception… But now, in Room One, if you need to get out of line because you forgot to grab your coat, get a drink, tell someone something, or for no good reason, you just need to say please hold my spot. When you get back to the line you say, excuse me, may I have my spot back and the person is supposed to say (we practice this), “Yes, certainly.” Even if you forget to ask someone to hold your spot you can get it back… That is the rule.
It is not about eliminating conflict or complaining, it is not about where you stand in line or the reasonableness of why you got out of line… it is about treating other people the way you want to be treated. If you get out of line for any reason would you like to get your spot back? If you forgot to grab bananas at the grocery store, you might leave your cart in line and run back to get them… imagine if when you got back someone had shoved your cart aside? You want to be treated kindly. So, in Room One, everyone gets their spot back. It is polite. It is the right thing to do. It makes people happy and it is easy.
How can this apply to the world? Imagine the on-ramp of your local highway, imagine the line at the bank, post office or market… imagine what is the right thing to do and make that happen… we have moved away from worrying about others’ feelings – political correctness has become a bad word – the pendulum has swung – pushed by some very angry people who would never give you your spot back… Time to push back and show what it feels like to say “Yes, certainly”, and really mean it.