This week, while walking around the hallways and classrooms of my school, I found myself acutely aware of all of the different noises that take place on a daily basis. There were the typical facility-related sounds, such as bells signifying the change of classes and doors opening and closing. I heard phones ringing, papers rustling and book bags being dropped on the floor.
Like the beginnings of a carefully crafted symphony, hushed chatter in the halls quietly added a new complexity to the piece.
Voices exploring new languages introduced a theme to be investigated. Melodically, the dialogue between teachers and students carried the piece to a crescendo, where shouts of encouragement rang like the beat of timpani drums from the gym. “Oohs” and “ahhs” coming from experiments in our science labs brought the music to a resolution, and the sound of children’s laughter throughout my travels tied the masterpiece together.
As I was enjoying this sweet music, I was reminded of something Henry David Thoreau is quoted as saying. He said “…birds do not sing in caves.” While the normal creaks and clamor of a school day lay the foundation for the music we make, it is the warmth in our work and support of our children that help to turn our school from something ordinary, into something spectacular. Because each child is here, we are singing a song that is wholly different than it might have been were they not with us this year.
However, it is not just because they are present that has made this song as rich and complex as it is. It is because they are developing the freedom to sing that makes the difference.