Teaching 13 January 2016


My students teach me lessons on a daily basis. They are not always lessons I enjoy learning. What is it that builds a kid into belligerence and the constant put down of others? It is one of the most difficult attitudes to face because whatever is said simply escalates it. It isn’t fair to the rest of the class because of the constant disruption and, in the midst of our poetry unit, I wonder how their poetry will reflect it. Keeping my hospitality resolution is a challenge with this kiddo.

Another lesson I’ve been learning is how to combat pessimism. How do you get to be sixteen and have nothing to be joyful or excited about in your life? The conversation goes something like this:

Me: Hey, how was your break?

Student: Eh, I was bored.

Me: Did you go anywhere? Do anything fun? Eat anything wonderfully delicious?

Student: No.

Me: So, you stared at the wall the entire break?

Student: Yes.

Me: Well, now you’re back at school, so that’s pretty great!

Student: No, it’s boring here too.

Everyday I greet this and everyday I try to say hello to each student when they come in myIMG_0468 room, by name, and ask them how their day is going. I keep telling this one that I’m waiting for the day when he comes in and just smiles. Just one little smile.

We need more joy, a lot more joy. It oozes out of some of them, but it isn’t enough to go around. They need to fall in love with their life and see the beauty and blessing that is all around them! My fervent hope is that they get just a tiny taste of it in the words of the poetry they are reading and writing with me.

About Sally Gerard

I am a writer, runner, teacher, singer, guitar player, mom, lover, coffee drinker, hunter, antique tractor driver, horsewoman, sister, and lover of the outdoors. Did I mention that I love lighthouses?
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