I was fortunate enough to work at a lovely little international school in Vancouver, called Greybrook Academy. We were only at Greybrook for 18 months before it shut its doors due to financial mis-management by the Society that governed it. I say fortunate however, because of all the schools I’ve worked at, Greybrook was a true community.
My schema popped on the hardest day I had there. With three days notice we were closing. It was our last day of operation, the evening of our winter concert, November 30th. My sons were up on stage singing with their classmates. The entire gym was filled with parents, students, friends of the school, and our staff. We’d been through the ringer with the Society, our kids would all be out of school the following day and the teachers out of jobs, and yet here we were. All of us. Together.
And then the POP happened.
This, I thought, this is what a community of learners can achieve. We can support each other through the hardest of times and still take time to celebrate, to embrace our students and one another. We are teaching our children resilience, and love, and that you may not always win, but you should stand for what you believe in.
Again, my understanding of what a learning environment could be, shifted. I’ve thought many times of what made that school so special, why that community was so tight. The best I’ve been able to ascertain was that there was a deep respect. A respect for the many different types of learners we had in the school. A respect for the knowledge and expertise of the teachers, a respect for the important role parents play in a school. And a respect for our environment and our larger community.
While Greybrook is gone, that message of respect and the power of a learning community has forever influenced how I see my role as a teacher and a learner.