What does community really mean?

community bulleting board

This summer I have given a lot of thought to the word community.

I live in a lovely town outside of Washington, D.C.  On Saturdays I can venture down the street to the Farmer’s Market where I am sure to run into several neighbors and friends. Community is easy to spot in this thriving corner of town.

In September, I will happily return to the classroom to join a community of teachers – like-minded people striving to built the best educational environment for students.  My classroom too will be a community of readers — one of my favorite places to reside!

I find myself in community on Twitter, at conferences, when tutoring young readers,  participating at the food bank or simply being with my extended family.

Community is many things. But, the larger question that lies beneath the warmth of community is: what is our responsibility as the member of any community?

Students in my classroom this year will focus on what community means to them.  What communities do they inhabit? What does each community mean to them? How can they improve life in that community? What is our responsibility to others in our communities?

I am learning that by taking time to examine the communities I am a part of…I feel more responsible but at the same time I feel empowered.  I want my students to feel empowered!

This year we will stretch far beyond the walls of our classroom to really look at who we are in community.  The global read aloud, a class podcast about community, service projects and more will mingle with the daily tasks of reading and writing. School should not be something you “go and do” for a handful of hours. Real life must weave its way through the halls, into conversations and off the pages of books.

I believe our job as teachers is to equip students to be global citizens — caring, compassionate, motivated citizens.  My hope is that a year of inquiry will help us read more, understand more, connect more and take steps to make positive changes in the communities around us.

**Writer’s Note:  I started this blog last summer but let it fall by the wayside. Thanks to a push from the very talented Katherine Hale, I am excited to enter the blogging world 🙂