I had a little CTJ meeting with one of my classes after my whole contemplation of respect. I’d written that day, during writing time, about respect and how when there isn’t respect, it diminishes the writing community we’ve established in my room. From the beginning I’ve told students that it takes a lot of trust to share what you write from your heart. Granted, it isn’t always serious, but it is still your inner life that you are putting out there in front of others. Maybe they know you some, but not well. Maybe you’ve grown up in the same community and schools, but that doesn’t really mean anything.
So I opened it up for discussion and we all agreed that when there are one or two people who don’t respect the community, it makes it difficult for those around them to focus. Many shared their heartfelt concern for the effects of rudeness on the soul. I must have gone on a bit about how sacred writing time is and about how you write about things in the most honest way when there are so many times you are not allowed to voice your thoughts. One honest young woman raised her hand and said, “Ms. G, you know we aren’t all as passionate about this writing thing as you are. We just write-it’s not like we’re out there in the writing cosmos or anything.”
Okay, I get that. So, in the end, it all came down to me “fixing” the seating chart to better isolate the disrespect so that most of the class can ignore them and just do what they need to do. After that, everyone was pretty quietly focused on their poetry project. I think they are going to be out of this world!