Thursday, November 25, 2010

Seeing My Words Work

Apparently I'm going to be writing some reflective blog posts. Can't help it.

I wonder how JFK would have felt, or did feel, when he heard someone say, "Ask not what you can do for your country, but what you can do for your country."
I wonder how anyone famous feels/felt when they heard their own words spoken by someone else and used in an attempt to change the world.

Well, I"m about a million years away from being famous at anything, but the other day I was grading my students' journals and I found my own words buried in one journal. I almost missed it. Here's the background - one day during Red Ribbon Week a list of students who had not been wearing their seatbelt that morning was read over the intercom. This was about 2 minutes before the end of last hour. A student in my room had his name read, and everyone laughed. I was infuriated that they thought that was funny. With what was probably my coldest stare ever I said, "I don't think you all would be laughing if that was a list of people who had died on the way to school today."

The next day my school lost a student in a tragic football accident. Many of my students journaled about that incident and in one student's journal I found my words and her reflection about what that really meant. I was bowled over. Now, please note that this has nothing to do with how awesome I am or how moving my words were. Just simply that she was listening. The fact that she opened her ears to what I was saying. That she opened her mind to a bigger perspective of what was happening in my classroom.

This student motivated me to encourage more incidents like this one. Now, how to do this? Teaching listening may be one of my biggest challenges.

We'll see

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