Monday, March 2, 2009

kid stuff

Because the major thrust [she said 'thrust'!] of the public speaking class I teach is to get seniors ready & comfortable to present their culminating projects to community members, I've tried to plan more fun (less stressful & threatening) assignments to fill the rest of the time.

They have done the ever-lovable Introductions, some simple impromptus (cleverly disguised as games that require them to stand in front of the class and talk), and a Show & Tell involving something important to them [I'm kind of over snowboards, can I just say? But I'm pleased that they participated at all]. During the past week, they practiced storytelling techniques by reading picture books to each other. Then I arranged for them to visit the nearby elementary school and show their stuff.

Today, in honor of Read Across America Day, we were welcomed by two kindergarten classes and a third grade class. This was not only an opportunity for my students to improve their skills, it was a chance to remind our community that these kids are still hanging in there despite various roadblocks in their lives and that they're capable of doing good, smart things regardless of baggy pants and funky hair and piercings [I even wore a sweater revealing a significant portion of my tattoo as a sign of Renegade solidarity].

My students didn't quite believe me last week when I announced we would be in elementary classrooms today - I know this because 1) everyone showed up and 2) there were a few serious cases of nerves as I explained how they were divided and reviewed the No Hats and No Cussing rules. One boy was so furious with me for insisting he go that he stomped all the way over AND back, even though I watched him connect with the kids in his group during the reading. I continued to thank him throughout the day for going and each time he glared at me again, though I imagine him secretly enjoying the memory of his time in that class.

Another of our guys who likes to cultivate the Whatever attitude was utterly phenomenal in his dramatic, interactive reading of The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig; one of our frequently ditsy girls stunned me by explaining how she started her time with the kindergartners by making sure they knew what an 'enemy' was before she started reading Enemy Pie. Everyone read to and chatted with their new biggest fans for 30+ minutes, even though most were sure at the beginning that it would be impossible, boring, and/or awful.

I barely avoided the dreaded Crying Teacher moment when I wrapped up our class by thanking them all for making the effort despite feeling embarrassed or nervous; I told them that their presence in those classrooms made a positive impression on the kids and their teachers, and for me to witness others being impressed & feeling proud of them was a blessing to me.

I want them to know that feeling every day. Every. Day.

13 comments:

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I feel like I'm trying to channel your amazing teacherliness these days. The crying moment thing--I came so close last week--I'm happy to know it's not just me.

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

You are Jesus.

Lisa Wheeler Milton said...

Your heart is so big. I know first hand.

I'm so glad your kids had a chance to shine yesterday.

Janet said...

I've said it before...and I'll say it again: I wish you had been one of my teachers back in the day!

Danielle said...

Sounds like they rocked the house. That is awesome. You're awesome.

Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge said...

Okay, I have to stop reading the post for just a second to comment... this is funny...

When you said you were teaching "seniors", I immediatly thought, "Over-65 crowd". So when you said that their show-n-tell items were snowboards I was like WHAT THE HELL IS SOME GRANDPA DOING WITH A SNOWBOARD? HE'S GONNA BREAK A HIP???

Until I remembered that you teach high schoool.

That was fun.

Okay, back to reading the post...

Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge said...

That was a really great post.

And, also funny if you read the whole thing picturing Senior Citizens, instead of Senior high schoolers.

Suzanne said...

You are a great teacher. I'm giving you a raise, though I have no real authority to do so.

Yay for your kids. Every kid does deserve to feel that...

3 Bay B Chicks said...

I like Cheri's comment. I think she sums up my thoughts on this subject very well.

Maybe I am feeling a little overly emo today, but tears seriously started welling up in my eyes as I was reading this post, Stephanie. You do such great things for your students. Whether they realize it now or not, they are VERY lucky to have you.

-Francesca

Shana said...

What an awesome experience. And the impact that your kids made on their little buddies? Pales in comparison to the impact you make on your students, I have no doubt.

Amy said...

We read the big bad pig today in preschool and it was a big hit!

I agree with Cheri. You are not just Jsus but The Jesizzle!

Lisa said...

This is the kind of teacher moment that makes it all worth it, I suspect. I can watch MathMan come home pretty deflated four out of five days in a week and then on that fifth day, something good will happen and it will buoy him through until the next good day.

dkuroiwa said...

I think that these moments are what I miss the most from teaching in a regular classroom with kids.

You are one of those rare and special teachers that will be remembered for years after those kids have left your room. They may not know it now, but...the impact you have had on their lives is amazing.
and yeh...Jesus-like!

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