|—||David V. Smith|
It’s time to get deep. I started answering letters written to me by one of my 6th graders.
Q: What would you do if you had one last day to live? (Week 1)
Q: What is a best friend to you? (Week 2)
Q: What do you look for in a man?
This counts for the meaningful stuff I love about teaching.
I’ve continued with my shared reading groups, this past week my group of five girls read four short stories together. Each fictional short story bringing to life what it’s like for four immigrant kids in the United States. We read a piece from the perspective of a Mexican kid’s first crossing with his father, a Chinese girl trying to explain why Chinese parents are supposed to criticize their children or their own cooking when others are giving them a compliment, a Muslim who desperately wants to become the quarterback of his school after 9/11, and a Cambodian girl who learns how to mend a friend’s chair and her own heart when her grandmother dies.
These were my two favorite excerpts.
“She shrugged. Such a wonderful gesture, that American shrug. It could mean anything, everything, nothing. And it meant that she did not have to try to put into words all the swirl of feelings that thinking about ‘home’ brought to the surface.” -The Green Armchair
“He’s right, Sopeap thought. What I have can never—and should never be—copyrighted. What has been passed on to me is harder than any hardware, softer than any software. A series of words, a sequence of movements—a story, a dance, these things Grandma passed on to me, these things that are almost sacred in their simplicity. And they are mine, yet they belong to me only as much as the flame of a candle belongs to its wick. When the candle is melted away, the flame is passed on—that’s all.”
I can’t wait to hear what my girls think of the last short story that they were supposed to read over break.
|—||Psalm 63:2-8 (My prayer for this week, taken from the words of King David)|
I haven’t been challenged like this in a long time. Last year as the English Language Arts coach I volunteered to teach a mix group of students who weren’t reading at grade level. Since I survived last year, I thought, “Hey! I should just do it again.” I definitely wasn’t prepared for what came my way.
19 boys and 12 girls between 5th and 6th grade came my way at the start of this school year. We spend two and a half hours together each day. It’s been a battle every day trying to win their trust. I have a classroom full of class clowns and “troublemakers” who got away with not learning how to read well throughout all these years by being funny or avoiding teachers who made them feel dumb.
Every single time another teacher wants to speak with them, these students get asked, “Are you in trouble with ANOTHER teacher?” It’s hard to change their outlook on school, when most of their experiences have been negative.
I find myself driving home every day, asking myself, “What next? What can I do to make them realize there are people who care deeply about them? How can I make class more engaging and still teach them what they need to know?” That’s when I started reading with a group of 5 students and writing them a letter each night. Every week, I choose a new group and my hope is eventually every student has an opportunity to connect with me over the course of time.
I’ve also started writing student’s parents. I figure parents who often get phone calls about negative news, would appreciate hearing how their son or daughter is doing well in my class.
Lastly, I also tried to connect with my students who love guns and the military. I showed them my brother’s Iraq album and asked them if they wanted to write to my brother. I can’t wait to see their reaction when they get my brother’s letter back.
I’m crossing my fingers and continuing to pray for these precious lives…
Someone asked me, “How do you plan on changing the world?” I answered, “I plan on loving people extravagantly, no matter who they are or where the come from. My goal is for every person to have at least one person they can count on.”
Leaders need to be visionaries. I’m re-evaluating my old vision for a new one. God open my eyes to see what you have in store for me, that I might live according to your will.
Summer God Projects
Dinner for Two
Laying by the Pool
Baking cookies & Feeding Friends
…exercising extravagant love
I rarely reblog, but this is a must read. I agree 100%, whatever you’re called to do, do it!
“To be honest, this question grieves me because I feel that it represents a much bigger issue than simply a couple SF tunes. In true Socratic form, let me ask you a few questions: Does Lewis or Tolkien mention Christ in any of their fictional series? Are Bach’s sonata’s…