I took my pup for a walk last night by the football field to catch a quarter of the high school football game. I saw a couple of students in the stands cheering on the team as I stood behind a chain-link fence. The stands weren’t too crowded, but spectators cheered on their teams as they battled back and forth. When I left, the score was still a close 7-6, but I couldn’t stay for the rest. I told myself that I would catch the next game in its entirety, and for once I actually have the chance. Getting more involved with the school community is something that I’ve wanted to do for a while. I know that it’s my first year, and some may see it as trying to do too much, but I’ve always thought that school is more than the campus or the classroom. It’s important to see the students as more than students, so I want to be more involved with clubs and student leadership.
This was my first full day with all my classes, and I wanted to have an introductory exercise that was more than just names and random trivia. Based on an artifact lesson from university, I had my students present objects and pictures that represented something about them that they normally don’t share with others. I was a bit hesitant at first because I wasn’t sure how willing they would be, but after today I wouldn’t hesitate to put them on the spot like that. In 40 minutes, I learned more about some students than I did after five weeks of student teaching.
One of my students was a barrel racer and hopes to turn pro in the near future. Another nursed a bluejay back to health and kept a tail feather. Another doesn’t take art classes because she finds that the teachers tend to be overly critical and not let her art really speak. Another student protests the use of a certain brand of makeup because of their policies on animal testing.
Every time someone shared, I couldn’t help but have a huge grin. Sure there were a couple of students who might have tuned out a bit, but many of them looked at each other in a new light, and I hope that sense of awe will last a little longer as the rest of the year rolls on. I now have a few more experts to lean on in class as we read different stories and poems. I guess in the end, the real benefit of getting to know your students outside of the scheduled four blocks is that, well, you get to know your students.
(Oh and a sidenote, I started to go a little more paperless. I took all my notes today via Evernote.)