Friday, October 24, 2008

Worldly Wisdom Elementary Style

One day my second grade students and I were discussing a story we were reading in our reader. The story was fiction about a world where their was no illness or death. Hoping to start a thought provoking discussion, I ask my class,”What do you think a world like that would be like?” Max, my deep thinker, raised his hand and said, “Crowded!” The moral to that story, Never underestimate a child’s mind.
Another time around Thanksgiving time we were discussing Pilgrims. We were saying that all of our ancestors came from another country, unless we were Native American. At the end of that discussion, I asked my students to follow up with a homework assignment for that evening. They were to go home and find out what countries their family ancestors left to come to America. The next morning only one student had is homework and was very anxious to share with the class his new knowledge. I praised him for doing the assignment and invited him to share. He said with a mischievous grin, “My family is from Mars!” Surprised, I chided him gently, “Now Max, you know that is not true.” “Tell us where they are really from!”
“Really teacher, that’s what my mom said.” replied Max. He paused and grinned as he said, “ Of course, she was mad at my Dad and my brother at the time!”

My Friend Janay

The following story by a second grade student named Janay illustrates one of the many reasons a teacher teaches. One of the Perks of the job if you will. This little Janay and her friend Kristi had been ganging up on a little girl called Christina. Christina was quite a character herself, but after a few days of cruel words and treatment of her at recess, I pulled Kristi and Janay aside and talked to them at length about being a friend. Janay took things said to heart and really gave it some effort. Later in the year for a writing project, I asked the students to write me a story about their friend. This was Janay’s story.

My Friend

My friend helps me when I need help. She helps me when I need to be nice to people, even Christina! She is not mean to me. She teaches me how to be a friend. If I am nice to people they are nice to me. This friend is a real teaching person. She helps everyone. This person is Ms. Riggs.

At the end of the year, she made a cute little memory book as only second graders can do. In it she stated, “ I want to be a teacher, because I want to be like you! I like you and love you. Thanks for teaching me. You taught me how to do Art, Math, etc. You are the best to me.

Such are the rewards of teaching! No amount of money could compensate for this experience.