Saturday, October 9, 2021

A Good Day in the Classroom

 October 9, 2021

Yesterday, in my last class of the day, we were talking about some of the social issues an author was addressing in his literature. We then trained our lens on how those issues are still relevant in today's world--how they've changed, how they've remained problematic. It was a long discussion about challenging issues with many different perspectives. The kids spoke their minds. They spoke from experience. They shared perspectives. They were passionate AND respectful. It was amazing. I had two kids say how important they felt it was to have these conversations. One kid thanked the rest of his classmates for being willing to share and for listening to differing perspectives, because learning from each other is how we move forward and do better. As I was wrapping up the discussion (which went on much longer than I had intended because it was GOOD), I told the kids we'd have one more comment and then we'd move on. My last commenter said, "Oh gosh, I forgot we were in English class and that we were supposed to be doing work." To which I said, "Y'all, this IS the work! This is what literature is about! If we can't figure out why literature matters to us in our own world, how it speaks to our experience, then those books are just bound paperweights taking up space on the shelves. THIS is why we read." And my kids CLAPPED! My job isn't to tell kids what to think; it's to guide them in having their own conversations and finding their own voice and place in the world. And if I can do that while encouraging them to be good humans to one another (my common mantra is that we can BE BETTER than the people who find satisfaction in haranguing and harrassing others in online comment sections), well, then, that's a good day in the classroom. Critical reading is critical thinking, which leads to critical writing and communicating--and the kids not only need that, they want it.

No comments:

Post a Comment