Listen, folks. I may seem like I’m on 10 all the time, and a lot of times I am, but as soon as I sit down, I remember that I am tired.
So, because it is May…
…and because I’m still living and breathing (for the moment).
Here are some of my favorite #heardinclass moments and why I love them so much. I’m here to let my children speak, be seen, and heard. Each one of these little anecdotes represents the reason I love what I do, why this work, and being with these kids all day every day means so much to me. And I know that it means so much to you too. May these moments bring you a smile, laughter, just a little bit of joy when you need it. May they remind you of why it is wonderful to do what teachers do and to make what we make–spaces where learning, love, exploration, and magic, happen. Lord knows laughter really is the medicine that’s best.
The priorities. The exceptions that get made. The charity that gets begged for. For a high school teacher, especially one teaching Seniors, this is what May is made of.
This is Carolina keeping it real about the workload Seniors face. She also kept her grades all the way up in spite of how “horrible” things were and is graduating at the top of her class. She is fierce, loving I don’t think I’ve ever seen her be grumpy, not even when a certain teacher kept falling asleep on her shoulder during that 13 hour flight to Brazil. Her classmates respect her for always speaking her truth. I respect the way she unselfishly helps anybody who needs it, in Spanish AND English. She’s definitely a soul daughter of mine and I will miss her terribly when she graduates this year.
These days, there’s a lot of emphasis placed on writing a CLO, and not enough on empowering students to be curious, to find their own unique paths to satisfying their curiosity. I believe in supporting students by having and identifying a targeted way for them to access class content. But, I also believe that it’s impossible to encapsulate all that happens (or could happen) in that esoteric and beautiful exchange between learner and the whole wide world–in one sentence. I will not write this blog post incorporating relevant text evidence using content vocabulary from my internal word wall. I’m sorry but that’s just not how it goes down inside my mind, or how it has ever gone down, if I’m really honest. The students tell me they like my honesty.
The endless debate between Christian and Oscar about which of their employers is better–Wal-Mart or Target–is a never ending source of amusement for me. It literally never gets old. I cannot even begin to tell you all the roasting that has transpired on this topic, but these two never fail to make me smile or laugh until I cry, and I’m so thankful. Beyond that, Oscar has an encyclopedic knowledge of hip-hop that I appreciate, and Christian has had my vote for President of the World ever since he wrote the most FIRE essay connecting “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July” and the American (in)justice system. I don’t even like thinking about graduation this year. I’m going to be a complete mess.
I have so much respect for the way my students navigate this digital world they are growing up in. This will be the only time in history when our students who are digital natives are being taught by teachers who are not–and those who learned in a school system using tools that are DRAMATICALLY different from the tools students use today to access information. Their independence, ingenuity, and curiosity astounds and impresses me every single day. It is a wonder to watch.
…until something like this happens and you realize you’ve been put in CHECK. The days of the “jigsaw activity” are gone, folks. This lesson changed course SEVERAL times throughout the 90 minutes as I saw that they were one step ahead of me at every stage. This tweet captured the apex of it all when they kicked the teacher OUT of their back channel conversation and proceeded to collaborate in a shared document and learn ANYWAY. My CLO and instructions didn’t mean a thing. They found a way that made more sense to them–so I let them do it. I have no regrets.
One of my favorite classes ever. It was magic. It was a battle of poems, and I don’t remember which one won. I do remember what it was like to sit back and listen to them talk about why specific poems were more “culturally relevant” or less “syntactically varied” or more “difficult to understand because of missing historical context”. Yes, they used that language, and no, I didn’t give them a word bank. My children are something else. I was and am so proud of the work they have put in to get to this place. I don’t really have words to describe how happy this 90 minutes made me, but I’ve got a picture.
Then you have the philosophers…“Deep Thoughts”, remember those? I used to know a person who started every class period with them. The children drop wisdom on the daily and I just try to be there so I can listen and pick it up.
Few things get me in my feelings more than when the students help one another and take care of each other. We have a smaller school community, and these kids have gone to school with one another since forever. It follows that they’ve loved, and lost together. They’ve fought one another over many things…and everyone has dated everyone. But in the end, they have shaped a school climate with love and care at the center, the likes of which I have never seen before–and I’ve taught at 3 other schools. It is beautiful, and inspiring, and I’m lucky to be surrounded by it every day.
Quotes from THE READERS
Who are sometimes unprepared…but at least they are honest about it.
Quotes from the writers…
A few just for fun…
One from the class that just gets it done…
…and I think I’m gonna end with that one.