Habit… and Hope #sol21
November 16, 2021
My husband and I had two of our bathrooms renovated over the course of the last seven months, two of which were waiting for these custom glass shower doors. I’ve never lived in a home with a clear glass shower door.
The day the installers came, they carefully installed the brass fixtures and placed the glass into the shower openings. They taped a big note to the front of the shower door that said we had to wait 48… hours to open the doors. Along with the note was this special squeegee, what looked like an ancient car of special glass cleaner and … four pages of instructions on how to take care of these glass shower doors. The instructions stated to squeegee the shower doors with the special squeegee after EACH use.
I waited with anticipation the two full days that we were to wait for our shower. My husband took the first shower. When I went into the bathroom later, there were water droplets all over the inside of the doors. I looked around for the special squeegee. It was no where to be found. Where’s the squeegee? I called from the hallway. I’m not sure, he answered. Maybe it’s in the office with the paperwork.
Dutifully, I trudged into office and found the special squeegee discarded on top of his printer. I took the squeegee out of the larger plastic bag with the directions, unwrapped the shrink-wrapped plastic from the handle and returned to the shower. I haven’t used a squeegee often, so I surveyed the shower doors for a couple of seconds and then started in squeegee the water from the top to the bottom of the door. Does this look blue? How do I get around the handles? Getting most of the water off, I took a soft cloth as instructed and wiped the rest of the water off the edges of the door and off all of the hardware.
We’ve had access to the shower doors for four days now. Our lower level shower’s doors have been installed for six weeks or so. To my knowledge no one in my household except me has used the squeegee to remove the water from the shower doors. I was considering all of these things this morning as I squeegeed the shower door. I also considered how long it takes to squeegee the shower door, was I going to be the only person to squeegee this shower door, and… how long it takes to build a habit. You see, I was wondering if I was going to be able to sustain my shower door squeegeeing habit over time.
Yesterday, I tried something different for our monthly building-based curriculum meeting. Instead of the party-atmosphere (In my mind) collaborative school-wide learning we have done for the decade or so that I’ve been their literacy coach, I prepared a self-directed learning experience for the educators in my building. I sat in the literacy center and each teacher conducted his/her own learning, perhaps in the company of others on their grade-level team. I eagerly anticipated that perhaps someone would choose the directions that offered a chat with me or a perusal of the text sets that I had prepared in the literacy center. For me, it was a long hour. Like the shower door people, I had prepared a long list of instructions and resources, left the ‘tools’ nearby. Unlike the shower door people who I am relatively certain aren’t concerned about whether I use the tools on my shower door or not, I am deeply committed to whether my colleagues try something new and perhaps develop a new habit.
In their exit ticket, my colleagues indicated that they liked this new and different way to learn. They self-reported that this learning was helpful to them. In these times, we are trying to give teachers more “voice and choice” so to speak, building their efficacy through trust and self-direction. After all, the people doing the work are doing the learning.
What about the learning? They reported that the content was beneficial as well.
I don’t know if what I hoped would shine through my resources, google slides, and categories will become habits. I don’t know if this way of studying will become our new norm or just a selection on a menu of possibilities. I don’t if my husband will try out the squeegee or even if it will become a habit for me. However, I remain hopeful.