Last spring I had to take a break from knitting. It seems I was gripping my needles so tightly and damaging the muscles in my arm and elbow. I learned how to loosen my grip, to sleep with my hands opened, and to ease the tension in the elbow with massage techniques. I love the idea of metaphor as a tool for communicating with families. My friend Tim has helped me hear metaphor in writing and poetry so I thought I would practice using metaphor this school year.
This last week, as I have picked up the pace on some knitting projects, I have thought about knitting as a metaphor for how we are knit together in relationships at school. I am in the process of hosting parent coffees. As I sit around the table with groups of parents, I am listening for those places where the fabric is beautifully woven, where we understand and desire the same things for kids. The teachers provide the pattern and the tools and if they are well written and communicated, it is easy to follow. But I am also looking for those places where the pattern is muddled and stitches might have been dropped – for misunderstandings, for questions, for concerns. And when these come up, I search for the tools that will help us pull those pieces back together. As a staff, we developed a communication plan last spring aimed at improving the way we inform parents about our goals and the work children are doing in class. As I listen to parents I believe that we have chosen the right tools for this project. As we continue through the year, we will have to pay attention, to watch and listen for dropped stitches, and to celebrate the patterns that emerge. I think we could end up knitting together some great relationships this year.
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