In Missouri, our department of elementary and secondary education coordinates group meetings for the different content areas in education. We meet every other month during the school year to hear what‘s new in state testing, professional development ideas, and collaboration. Yesterday, three instructional coaches and a principal piled into a school suburban to make the 4-hour journey to our state capitol. Because of the distance, we booked a hotel to spend the night before our meetings.
What a fun time was had by all! The suburban was filled with crocheting, laughter, and catching up. While stopping to enjoy dinner at a hibachi grill, we shared successes, frustrations, and narratives. No topic was taboo! We giggled as our hibachi grill chef made amorous remarks to a 90-year-old great-grandmother at our table. We practiced the “stretch-and-pack” to help us fit more of the delicious noodles, chicken and vegetables into our already stuffed stomachs. We exclaimed as we dared to try a new sushi roll.
Isn’t it amazing what happens when we get away from our often stressful work environments and move into a totally new setting? While these are the same people we began working with years ago, they now seem dearer somehow. When we get back to work, there is a camaraderie that makes our collaboration more productive. With just a look, we can communicate loads during a meeting. When a problem presents itself, we can revisit an old joke among friends and laugh to diminish stress.
While a car and an open road may not be your typical educational tools, I would highly recommend their use!