Week Two

Well Dear Protege, we’ve made it to the end of the first full week of school. You amaze me–I’m exhausted at the end of the day on Friday, but you’re still able to make me laugh my a** off as you tell me about the crazy antics of the kids you teach, and make me proud by relating all your successes so far. You love your classes, it’s obvious. I love mine too; although I don’t know if it’s always that obvious, I have to say that in almost twenty years, there are very few classes that I haven’t loved, or at least felt a little affection for. But really, I just want to say thanks–our conversation at the end of today regarding the remote for the data projector made me laugh harder than I think I have all week 🙂

But back to you–I thought I would address some of your comments in your last post.

I was equally surprised and impressed at Ian’s activity–like an old, torn, and worn $10 bill, no matter how crumpled or stepped on our students are, they still have intrinsic value. What a wonderfully subtle reminder of the role we play in reinforcing that with our kids. I’ve tried to base my career around the absolute truth that I might be the ONLY person who gives a student a smile or a kind word over the course of any given day, and that sometimes school is a safer place than home and I’m a more caring adult than anyone else in that kid’s life. The thing that underpins everything I do in the classroom is this: “It’s easier to build a child than fix an adult”. Your 3C class really hit the nail on the head with their very mature observations about the qualities of a great teacher. I agree with them one hundred percent, especially the part about having boundaries, routines, and rules. Students thrive best when there are expectations that they have to meet.  Face it, the vast majority of kids are looking to please–they want positive feedback, and they want our approval. That puts the onus on us to give them the kind of environment where that can be facilitated, where students can be built up, not torn down. Not unlike the twin towers (what a random segue–sorry).

I vividly remember 9/11 and the day you described. I remember standing in horror and awe with my students as the events unfolded live on the TV screen before us. I remember asking my OAC class to journal about it, in the immediacy of the moment, so that they would be able to look back on how they felt as the towers fell. Did I ask your class to write about it too? I wonder what the momentous event will be in your career, the one that your students will remember 10 years later, the one you tell them to write about so they never forget. And when it does happen, I know that there will be bagels, and kindness, for them too.

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