This year, I’ve had doubts about being a teacher, yet today reminded me of how much I love being in the classroom.
Earlier in the day, I finished The Outsiders with the grade 8s and as I read out the final sentences of the novel, the students were completely silent for a second or two before they burst with their initial feelings and reactions. You could hear their increasing excitement as they turned back to the beginning to re-read the first sentence. A few of them exclaimed, “You mean Ponyboy wrote this book for his essay?!”How lucky am I to be a part of a moment when a student finishes a book and can’t wait to talk about it more?
In the afternoon, I had English 11. The students had been put into small groups randomly and had to consider two questions:
1. Who is the better leader (Ralph or Jack),
2. Is there someone who should take the blame for Simon’s murder?
The groups basically came to the same conclusions for both questions, but after the presentations, there was a good conversation about leadership, group dynamics and human nature. They wondered if the same things would eventually happen with them, if they were stranded on an island. And they didn’t have much hope that a group of adults would be any better. If anything, they felt like adults would be even worse.
I really enjoyed hearing the different thoughts and comments and had to fight the urge to give my $0.02. (Maybe that’s a sign that a class discussion isn’t too boring — when the teacher really wants to participate as well?) And to think, I was nervous about this period because I didn’t know how the discussion would go, and if anyone would have anything to say (unpredictability is always scary to the control-freak in me). But student feedback was positive as they left at the end of the class.
Here are photos of the group posters: