My school decided to try something different for the first two days this year. With 2/3 of the students (and half the staff) new to the building, major construction, and a complete rearranging of the campus; the A-Team decided that this much change on a campus of 4,000 people needed something more like freshmen orientation in college. So that’s what we did today.
Groups of 25-ish students were paired with a teacher and a COLABASH (still figuring out that acronym, but I know BAHS is the school) student and traveled through 8 different “stations” throughout the day getting various info and activities. Yes, it was a bit of a zoo, but it was a good zoo-ish thing.
For my team, our day went like this:
– Meet in my room for some icebreaker activities and create a home base
– Go to the main gym for info from the A-Team on dress code, handbook stuff, parking…you know, the general boring stuff that HAS to be done, but is mind numbing
– Head to a classroom near the front of campus for a series of trust exercises (kids had to figure out a maze by trial and error and get their team to mimic the perfected pattern without communicating…then we played with REAL mouse traps – 3,700 teenagers playing with mouse traps…AND IT WORKED BEAUTIFULLY!
– Aux gym/drama for learning cheers, the Alma Mater and the words to the marching band’s number
– Back near my room for a session on the Tiger Way (aka building connectedness)
– Tour of the campus
– closing activities back at home base & discuss plan for Day 2
Now, I know others may not have had the experience that my group did & that some kids got “lost” at a few points; but you get what you put into it and my group and I clicked by mid day. Part of that was reputation – with only about 50 kids of the 3,700 actually knowing me…I was pleasantly surprised to hear “PRESLEY!!!” coming from across the quad a few times. That certainly helped! Yet, the reality is that a willingness on your part to dive in a make it a worthwhile experience for all – even you is what makes it work…Then you PIRATE it up! You want me to clap for the kids’ attention? Fine, but we’re going to turn it into a cheer. So when you call Presley’s crew, you get *clap*, *clap, clap*, *clap, clap, clap* + GO BA! It caused a few double-glances, but definitely helped solidify that sense of togetherness for my crew. And yes, we brought a few to the dark side by the end of the day 😉
Today I felt like I was in a campus that would back my sense of “crazy” non-traditional style in a way that I have never felt previously. Now, that isn’t to say that my previous experiences weren’t good or supportive. More that I have a confidence here and now that I won’t have to justify my wacky approaches with copious amounts of boring data that spans years of research that will be ignored. I’m sure I’ll hear my share of Negative Nelly dissing and complaining tomorrow, but I know – that for my crew – it was great. So good, in fact, that there was a chorus of, “I wish we could stay together with this group all year”. That made my day more than anything else could possibly have. A single day with these kiddos and they’re already MINE.
…Request that future Tiger Groups be Academic Advisory groups & that those groups loop with the staff member for all three of their BAHS years has already been made.
Here’s to another rockin’ day tomorrow that ends in a sweet lip dub!