By the time we’d finished sharing, I had three students in tears and several clapping at what one student wrote. What it came down to was: students really calling each other out for not being authentic, for preaching from pulpit so high that no one else could reach it, for stabbing each other in the back, for lack of integrity, and for downright being mean.
I, myself, had been frustrated by a couple of students who are always sharing what they write about how people shouldn’t judge and shouldn’t be rude and shouldn’t be drama queen gossips, and then they go right ahead and do all those things themselves. I shared my own writing as well.
“I don’t get people who sabotage themselves. They work so hard not to do what needs to be done, instead of simply settling down and getting it done. I don’t get rude people. They preach to others about how we should treat each other and then do whatever they want whenever they want and when I try to confront the behavior and redirect them, they get all up in my face with attitude. I don’t get it.”
We had some great discussion but didn’t really solve anything. Getting back to work on the drafts of our personal hero quests, status quo soon asserted itself: some were bent over paper or computer getting their journey down, some were pretending I couldn’t see them texting away on their phones, some decided it didn’t count if they ate the stuff hidden in their backpacks, and I wandered around the room to discuss various pieces of their lives and how to best record them in words.
Another day in the life of a teacher.