Early on in my first year of teaching at Oxford Reformed Christian School, we went tree planting. We were listening to a man from the conservation authority who was talking about how to properly plant trees and where to plant what kinds in which spots. There were a couple of different species, and they came in all different sizes. Some were just slender shoots that could easily be planted with little digging. Others were quite large saplings that would involve some serious digging. When the conservationist told the students to go pick out some shovels and trees, I expected the students to all go for the little trees. I watched wide eyed as they all sprinted off towards the large saplings. Dirt flew everywhere; the pile of trees dwindled, and in no time a beautiful grove of trees and dogwoods emerged around the Stubbe pond. The trees were planted in an hour flat. The conservationist thought it would take half the day and was astounded as I was. It was then that I realized that the students from ORCS knew how to work and they knew how to work together.
This was reaffirmed this week during “the move”. Our school was housed in a church for the past years. With the new school completed, it was time to move. I came to school on Wednesday and was told that our portable was going to be moved first thing the next morning. The pressure was on! I have twenty seven students, which means twenty-seven desks, and twenty-seven sets of various textbooks. There was also a fridge, piano, shelves and all of my books, desks and cabinets.
I gave the word to start packing shortly before lunch. The students swung into action without any prompting. Boxes appeared, and the students formulated themselves into groups. Different parts of the classroom were tackled and packed.
After lunch, the excitement was palpable, and the students were raring to get the job finished. Each student had a box and was responsible for packing their books and binders. Once packed up, all the students grabbed their box and desk and brought them to the waiting transport trailer. Within no time, the classroom was completely empty, and cleaned out. Once again, I watched all the action with wide eyed wonderment.
Thursday was another big moving day. This time the whole school was in on the action. The high school students helped the younger kids and hauled out the pianos and heavy furniture. Even the smallest of the students carried things out to the trailers.
Not once did I hear a teacher say “Get going!” or “Help out!” While packing up the staff room, I had students of all ages coming in asking if I needed help or if I could find something for them to do. It was great! I had a couple of my trusty sidekicks from grade 7/8 helping me out the whole day which made for a fun day.
By four o’clock on Thursday, the bulk of the school had been packed ahead of schedule, thanks to the amazing effort of the school body.
We will be moving into a new building shortly, but I hope we never lose the school spirit and strong collective work ethic that propelled us through “the move”.