Monday, November 5, 2012

Light Bulb

Today was the last day of the quarter and I required my students to turn in all their work on the three poems I assigned a couple of weeks ago. Many were not finished, despite a clear deadline, but there were several mitigating factors, among them a storm called Sandy and a storm called middle school.

It's easy for those who are not familiar to shrug off what a major transition it is from elementary school to our developmentally crucial place at the focal point of education. Primarily, we are trying to ease kids from reactive to proactive agents in their own lives, and inevitably there will be stumbles.

I think that explains the freak outs and shut downs I tried to counsel my classes through today. Student after student came forward with anxious expression. "Is this good?" they asked, thrusting their writing at me.

"What do you think?" was my reply.

And at the end of each class, most kids proudly turned in work that represented a lot of writing, and perhaps more importantly, a lot of thinking.

Even so, not everyone was satisfied, and I completely understood why. Tonight when I got home I enthusiastically opened the Home Depot bag that I had prominently set on the dining room table. One of our lamps in the living room shorted out on Saturday, and as annoying as that was, I knew just how to fix it. Last night I got the parts, and today I was eager to get the job done. In under 10 minutes, I was turning the switch and illuminating the room.

If only every job could be like that one. Right kids?

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