Sunday, January 20, 2013

What's in Your Top Five?

One of my many vices is finding new television series on Netflix and starting them from the beginning. I love getting completely encompassed in this brand new world, getting to know the new characters, and getting swept up in the plotlines. Each new show is like getting a fresh new batch of friends. No matter what is going terrible at work, or in my personal life, I know that I have at least one constant waiting at home for me.

This might make me crazy or make some people say that I have no life, well so be it. It’s my thing, I love it, deal with it.

The show that I am currently entangled in is “Lost.” In this show, a plane full of people crashes on a seemingly deserted island. The stranded passengers quickly realize that they are not alone on this island, but they are not sure who, or what, else is there with them. Many adventures and dangers ensue over the course of the show.

I was watching an episode one afternoon after returning home from a particularly trying day of work. In this particular episode one of the main characters, Charlie, thinks that he is going to die. He begins compiling a list of his top five favorite memories in his lifetime.

This, of course, made me start thinking about my own top five memories of my lifetime.

Eventually, this led to me thinking about my top five teaching memories!

In my third year of teaching I began to notice that a lot of my little girls were carrying around this book called “Twilight.” I asked them about it and they all raved that it was the best book “ever!” I finally broke down and decided to buy it to support the fact that they were finally reading. I began reading it one day while they were testing so that I could make sure that they could see that I was taking an interest in their interests. Nine pages later I was completely hooked. When work was over I drove to our local bookstore to look for the sequel to the book. They did not have the book which completely devastated me. I went into work the next day and spread the word that I was dying to read the next book in the series. By lunchtime two girls had called their mothers and had asked them to bring the book up to school for me.
4One of the things that I used to teach is a play version of “The Diary of Anne Frank.” I like teaching it because it is the one story that always completely enthralls each and every single one of my students. By the end of the unit almost every single one of my students had cried at one point. Now, I am not saying that this is one of my favorite memories because I made children cry (that’s only an added bonus!). It is one of my favorite memories because I am finally able to find something that actually breaks through that thick, “I’m an 8th grader, no one can touch me” persona. The students are learning how to identify and analyze literature without even realizing it because they are so wrapped up in the world of the horrors of the holocaust. It is pretty ironic when you think about it, but hey, whatever works right?
3In my third year of teaching I had the best of students and the worst of students. The best of students were so amazing they completely made up for the bad behavior of some of the others. In particular, I had a group of three girls that were so wonderful that I don’t think the experience will ever be able to be duplicated. They were sweet, smart, and strange (The best kind!) girls who were always eager to make your day better. They would stop by my room every morning to give me hugs before school started. They would add to the class discussions in intelligent ways and their enthusiasm was so infectious the other students in the class couldn’t help but catch the bug. I still look back on that year and those students almost daily and wish that, as teachers, we could choose to have the same students for our entire careers.
2One year we took the entire 8th grade on a field trip to the Richmond Capitol. We made it to the Capitol on time and all the students immediately broke down into their designated groups. While inside the Capitol building tourists repeatedly came up to me and asked me if I was the teacher of the students. I always responded a little apprehensively wondering what felony they were going to report to me. However, each time this occurred the adults just wanted to tell me how impressed they were with my students’ behavior and attentiveness. After the tour we took the students out on the Capitol’s lawn and the students were allowed to spread out across the lawn to have a picnic. I was amazed when almost all the students sat down together in one big group and shared food, stories, and laughter.

At the end of every school year the teachers at my school have a tradition of going outside to wave to the buses as they pull off for the last time of the year. The bus drivers honk their horns and the kids wave out of their windows as the teachers wave goodbye and good riddance from the sidewalk. It is the one time in every year that everyone is on the same page. Teachers, principals, students, bus drivers are all working together for a common goal... getting as far away from one another as possible for the next few months!

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