We all remember the ’80s, right? At the movie theater, the 1980s was the decade of the blockbuster. The popular culture of the 1980s reflected the era’s political conservatism. For many people, the symbol of the decade was the “yuppie” (belonging to a group): a baby boomer with a college education, a well-paying job and expensive tastes. Reaganomics. The “Cold War”. John Lennon was assassinated (surprise…of the worst kind). The Rubik’s Cube was introduced (achievable challenge). Pac Man was the video gamers’ challenge. Mt. St. Helen erupted. “New” Coke hit the market (sensual pleasure). The Berlin Wall fell. The space shuttle Challenger exploded. Halley’s Comet passed by. Michael Jackson released Thriller. ET was the most popular movie. All children (and adults) wanted the Cabbage Patch Kids (owning something of value)!
Now, what hasn’t been mentioned? Of course, the BOOM Box! Many relics of the ’80s are gone forever, but the boom box lives on in the office that I occupy. As inhabitants of the BOOM(er) BOX, my colleagues and I share a very special relationship. In fact, you don’t find one like this very often. First, we are all products of the “baby boomer” generation (UGH!). Second, we all grew up in the roughly the same geographical location, with the same education and similar values. Third, we all have a deep conviction that a good education is vital for our young people. And yes, fourthly, we like to have fun, with a capital “F”!
We refer to ourselves as the “boomer box” for many of these reasons, although some days we could be “Three Blind Mice” or “The Three Stooges”! – Who knows which group will appear each morning? On a more serious note, the one thing that makes our situation advantageous for the students is that we draw from of one another’s educational backgrounds. Call it team teaching, collaboration, support group, or stealing one another’s ideas – whatever fits the situation. By the way, we all have gray hair to prove our status!
Most every workshop, seminar, or professional development session will strive to include sessions on how to integrate different disciplines into the educational arena. Some of these, as you know, can be boring. Yet without consciously trying – we did it! We are quite unique. Our group consists of an English teacher, an Anatomy and Physiology teacher and a Psychology teacher. How different could these subjects be? This is where the magic happens. We have fun, we use each other’s ideas to incorporate different concepts into our classes, and we use these subjects to help students see the relationship between different disciplines. We support each other, applaud each other and provide a non-judgmental atmosphere to work in. (Not to mention playing vintage music and having sing-a-longs periodically.)
Isn’t this what education is all about? Speaking for myself, it is amazing how much I have learned from my two office mates. I have used so many of their ideas and methods in my classes. (Don’t let them know!). This experience has made all the difference in the way I approach some topics.
Maybe you need to create a group of colleagues who use different approaches. See if you don’t have the same experience that we have found. You, t0o,will find that education will take on a completely different meaning.
To borrow a phrase from Martha Stewart – Differences are a good thing! See you between the lines!