I have been noticing over the past few days (well, really, I have noticed here and there over the entire school year, but notably over the past few days), that my homeroom class and the other sixth grade class I teach (Language Arts and Drama) are very different in their demeanor, as a group.
Somehow, my homeroom seems more cohesive. They seems more flexible and more willing to take risks. I noticed this particularly when we had an impromptu improv session during social studies the other day, when both classes happened to be together for a film, and the projector wasn't working properly. My students seemed excited - it was actually their idea- and jumped in and had a blast. The other class seemed to hold back, but for a few (mind you, so did a few in my homeroom), and didn't seem quite as engaged, even as audience members (my homeroom students were).
There is a rhythm with my homeroom students that I don't seem to encounter with the other class. I wonder if Meghan, the other sixth grade teacher has the reverse experience. I wonder if I feel a sense of "ownership" with my homeroom - a more familial connection - and so I experience those students differently than the other class. I imagine, in a way, it's like a parent with their own child(ren): their kids are the best kids. I wonder if a complete outsider came in and observed me with both classes and Meghan with both classes what they would see.
I wonder mostly, if the rituals we do in my homeroom affect the atmosphere. Though I practice certain rituals with the other class, my homeroom has "more" - and they are designed to create community (i.e. the bow, how we take attendance, ROTA). But even in our language arts tea discussions (which happen in both classes), my homeroom students seems much more engaged.
I have to note I have language arts with homeroom 2nd period, and I have language arts with the other class, in the afternoon, 4th period. That may account for why there's a difference right there. But somehow, I don't think that's all.
At any rate, I was noticing. And wondering.
The Tolerance Muscle
2 months ago