New School Chronicles: Rolling Tape


Who knew that rolling tape would be the perfect moment to reflect on the day?

For the first time in about five or six years, I have my own classroom again. I don’t have to share with anyone. I don’t have to travel, don’t have to squeeze my posters onto a bulletin board the size of a postage stamp. Don’t have to lament putting something in one location only to return to find it placed elsewhere (sometimes with a nice-nasty note about “forgetting” where to leave my stuff). I didn’t realize how much sharing space can be a cause of stress if one must share with someone who is territorial, or more senior, or more…yeah.

But this year, I have my own space. I’ve been tempted this week to leave small things around at the end of the day, just so, when I return the following morning, it’ll be in the exact same place.

I have begun a new practice this year (in addition to leaving my stuff around the room–neatly, of course), and I think it’s akin to this metaphor of rolling tape. The process of hanging up posters, student work, etc. in your room can be a meditative time. I give myself time limits to do things, lest I stay at school forever. My task at day’s end yesterday was to hang up students’ Who I Am homework: a nice get-to-know who’s in our community. On average, that means there are about 25ish sheets to hang, equalling a good amount of tape. Sometimes, all one can manage is to do housekeeping to end a day, and that’s what I did.

So, as I rolled tape, for the last hour of my day, I reflected on the three great things–big or little–that happened and my role in making those great things happen. I read something that said teachers should do this every day, and write these three things down, creating a tangible record of the good rather than the bad. This is a monumental mindshift for me, as I’m a dweller on past screw-ups, almost to the point of not being able to let it go, but with this new strategy, my attitude has done a 180.

As I rolled tape, I recounted three good things. It was quiet, meditative space, and it was the perfect way to end the day. I am a better teacher because I reflect on my practice. I have to remember and honor that, and keep rolling the tape…

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