This was a question one of my students asked me last Friday afternoon.
We had just returned, semi-en masse as an entire school population from the park down the street. Friday morning was "Athletic Field Day" - an all-school event where our entire student body rotated through 12 different sporting activities in groups of students ranging from 6th-12th grades. Gratefully, it is a once-a-year morning-only event (school let out at 12:25 PM). It's a pretty fun day, but seriously exhausting.
At any rate, all of my students had met in our classroom Friday morning at our regular opening time, 8:25 A.M. We bowed in and took attendance as we do daily. Then we made our way down the street - about a block and a half away - to the park for the event.
When the morning activities were finished up at the park, some of the students left/were picked up from the park, while others trailed back to school for pick up, with faculty scattered here and there to keep watch.
Making my way back to my classroom - some of my students had left their things in there - one of my students ran up to me and asked, in an actually fairly-concerned voice: "Aren't we bowing?" I explained that just for today we weren't, as we didn't come back to school as a class and most of our students had already left the campus for the day. "Oh. Okay," she said. As she turned to go, I couldn't help but smile. Bowing has become so much a part of "what we do," that to miss doing it feels odd.
I noticed this afternoon as we took our places to bow out, that this week's Peer Leader waited a bit longer than usual to lead us off. I so appreciated those moments. Every one of my students stood still and quiet. Everyone of them waited until the Peer Leader began leaning over to take her bow to begin theirs. I felt a ripple of pride. I don't want to be prideful, but theer are moments that I feel such awe of my students - how respectful and caring they are...how much of a real community we have become.
I am grateful that my experiences with the bow at Naropa have transferred so beautifully into my experiences in my classroom. I am grateful that my students respond to it so well, and that my administration and my students' parents accept it without question. I am blessed.
Bowing out, respectfully.