Classroom Out Of Context

We're already at the point in the school year where it's a struggle to stay on top of things.  In fact, I feel like I'm behind in just about everything: grading, book keeping, recommendation letters, preventing my desk from looking like a Kinko's exploded ...

When things are this busy, time in the classroom can feel so pressed, too.  We're all just moving through the curriculum and doing so much that we sort of forget to check in and say, "Hi!  How are you?" and really mean it.

It's probably the most important thing I do: connecting with kids.

We went on a field trip yesterday to visit a college.  The tenth graders were wonderful, asking questions, touring the campus, exploring the facilities, all curious and adorable.  It was so refreshing to see them outside of our regular context.  A field trip is oddly more exhausting than a regular teaching day, but the true value of it comes in the time spent with the kids, because the time itself is different.  What I enjoyed the most were the truly mundane things that we did together: eat lunch, walk across the campus, wait for people to arrive, and ride the subway.  I so enjoyed just chatting with my students about what having roommates is like, or when you're supposed to pick a major, or if going into the Army is worth it, or how it's acceptable and why it's so hard to break up with someone, or how powerful Taco Bell's Doritos Locos tacos really are.

When I see a group of teenagers in the city I do what any sensible adult does: I cross the street, or get into a different subway car, or avoid their noisy ruckus in whatever way I can.  But when they're my kids?  I want to ask, "Hi! How are you?" and mean it.

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