Monday, November 10, 2008

Divine Intervention Interrupted by Divine Intervention

I was a bit worried this morning when I got to work and realized what I had planned for the day. It involved the students getting up and reading their free write reflections. I usually assign a specific topic for them to consider and write about, but last week I decided to let them free write, mostly because I had forgotten to prepare a topic for them with all of the billions of essays I had/have to grade. So this morning I panicked a little, especially since there have been countless instances of kids saying hateful things to each other in light of the election, racist things that seriously hurt my heart. I refuse to write these into existence on this blog.

I began the class with this caveat:

"I think before we begin, we need to remember to be mindful of our words and our reactions. We need to respect each others' opinions, but also only share that which is worthy of respect," or something like that. They grinned knowingly at me, as in, "Hey, we know you are talking about the election and the text messages and emails, and we hear you." But then, some of them looked like sabotage was on their minds.

I held my breath as I called on the first volunteer.

"My reflection is on taking things for granted," he began, and continued on about how athletes don't understand what a gift it is to have a talent and to be able to compete.

The second person talked about the fact that she, "can't believe [she] is grown-up." She spoke about her parents seeing her as an adult and the sacrifices they made for her, and the ones she will have to make in the future.

The next boy spoke about death and that he has attended far too many funerals for his peers. He ended with a poem to those friends he lost, a very unexpected response from this very large, O -line athlete.

One talked about synthetic ingredients in perfumes and soaps, another about wanting to play video games as a career, an so on and so forth.

Of all of those who volunteered only one was a bit scathing about the election, and the students, though they gasped collectively, held their breath, waited for her to finish, and exhaled were fairly supportive of her.

I was really proud of them today and felt like I had dodged a bullet of sorts. Unfortunately, I survived this only to realize that the next text I would introduce would be Dante's Inferno.

Hey kids, now that we're done working through being non confrontational about a very personal, passionate subject, let's talk about God and sin and hell! Weee!

4 comments:

Bonnie said...

It sounds like you have a very intelligent and mature group of kids. Sometimes I think teaching high school kids instead of 3rd graders would be much more fun, but then I would miss the cute (and sometimes strange) things the younger kids say.

Craig said...

I envy your teaching style. I also think about teaching high school kids. The college ones already seem to know it all.

Ginger said...

We'reworking on being more intelligent and mature in my class, Bonnie, but it is difficult when there teacher thinks fart noises are funny.

And hi Craig!! Where are you teaching? Are you in my town?

Laura said...

thanks for sharing this story Ginger. It made me smile. See, you are having an impact on these kids.

And Dante's inferno....yes, that should get them going! :-)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Divine Intervention Interrupted by Divine Intervention

I was a bit worried this morning when I got to work and realized what I had planned for the day. It involved the students getting up and reading their free write reflections. I usually assign a specific topic for them to consider and write about, but last week I decided to let them free write, mostly because I had forgotten to prepare a topic for them with all of the billions of essays I had/have to grade. So this morning I panicked a little, especially since there have been countless instances of kids saying hateful things to each other in light of the election, racist things that seriously hurt my heart. I refuse to write these into existence on this blog.

I began the class with this caveat:

"I think before we begin, we need to remember to be mindful of our words and our reactions. We need to respect each others' opinions, but also only share that which is worthy of respect," or something like that. They grinned knowingly at me, as in, "Hey, we know you are talking about the election and the text messages and emails, and we hear you." But then, some of them looked like sabotage was on their minds.

I held my breath as I called on the first volunteer.

"My reflection is on taking things for granted," he began, and continued on about how athletes don't understand what a gift it is to have a talent and to be able to compete.

The second person talked about the fact that she, "can't believe [she] is grown-up." She spoke about her parents seeing her as an adult and the sacrifices they made for her, and the ones she will have to make in the future.

The next boy spoke about death and that he has attended far too many funerals for his peers. He ended with a poem to those friends he lost, a very unexpected response from this very large, O -line athlete.

One talked about synthetic ingredients in perfumes and soaps, another about wanting to play video games as a career, an so on and so forth.

Of all of those who volunteered only one was a bit scathing about the election, and the students, though they gasped collectively, held their breath, waited for her to finish, and exhaled were fairly supportive of her.

I was really proud of them today and felt like I had dodged a bullet of sorts. Unfortunately, I survived this only to realize that the next text I would introduce would be Dante's Inferno.

Hey kids, now that we're done working through being non confrontational about a very personal, passionate subject, let's talk about God and sin and hell! Weee!

4 comments:

Bonnie said...

It sounds like you have a very intelligent and mature group of kids. Sometimes I think teaching high school kids instead of 3rd graders would be much more fun, but then I would miss the cute (and sometimes strange) things the younger kids say.

Craig said...

I envy your teaching style. I also think about teaching high school kids. The college ones already seem to know it all.

Ginger said...

We'reworking on being more intelligent and mature in my class, Bonnie, but it is difficult when there teacher thinks fart noises are funny.

And hi Craig!! Where are you teaching? Are you in my town?

Laura said...

thanks for sharing this story Ginger. It made me smile. See, you are having an impact on these kids.

And Dante's inferno....yes, that should get them going! :-)