Just got home from the funeral for my friend and colleague from school, Sally Pierce. Found out she was only 54 years old (a little scary since I'm 52). Still no details on cause of death, and I'm trying to avoid the rumor mill until more concrete information comes out.
Several people spoke including 3 teachers and Sally's brother. Very moving and upbeat messages, but I couldn't help but think about all the "friendships" we have at our schools, but how little we really know about each other unless we really take the time to develop those relationships. I think one of the things that I will take away from this experience is that I have to make time to get beyond the casual, day-to-day aspects of being friendly and really focus on being a friend.
Growing up in SmallTown Texas USA in a family where both parents were institutions in our school system, I saw first-hand how deep and lasting friendships can be among teachers. I think we've lost that to a large extent in our test-driven, cut-the-budget-to-the-bone modern version of the community school.
To honor Sally, I will strive to take that extra moment or two when a colleague or student asks a question, requests a favor, or need a helping hand and really try to get to know them. My standard, feeble rationalization is that I'm too busy or too tired. I have to change that. For Sally, and for myself.