I often wonder if it is my students that make me insane and wacky, or if after extended periods of time in my presence I wear off on them and make them crazy. Maybe it's a bit of both. I always seem to encourage a little bit of chaos. I try to make them question stuff and spend a lot of time giving them opportunities to explore their creative abilities. I guess sometimes it gets a little out of hand, on my part or theirs, and I'm left simply shaking my head. Today was a perfect example.
In my first class I discussed why calling the Native Americans in our current story "Indians" could be offensive. Later, I had to address why saying "Teacher is an Indian! Teacher is an Indian" followed by hooting and sound effects that might have been in an old school cowboy flick (woo-woo-wooo-woo-woo), is considered culturally insensitive. Then I lost it and ended up lecturing my group of 8 and 9 year old students on why it is simply not nice to say "Indians are ugly." I'm not sure they were picking up all that I was laying down, but... well, it was interesting. I couldn't help myself. I couldn't just let it go.
In my second class we discussed religion. I didn't bring it up. One girl raised her hand with that curiosity and spark that looked like a real question, instead of the typical disappointing "can I get a drink of water?" She asked me, out of nowhere, "Teacher, you believe in God?" Now, one must realize that though these students have slightly more developed English speaking abilities than my first class, the vocabulary for this level includes words like telephone, suitcase, and upstairs. They hardly have the vocabulary to to discuss such a topic and they're only 12 to 14 years old. However, it was a fascinating conversation. Completely unexpected! One student boldly told me and the class that he's an atheist. To quote him he said, "No church. No god. Just me." He went on to say that he has belief only in himself. Hey, cool with me. A girl told me of the fights in her class at school between the Christians and the Catholics. And a third young lady actually said, "I believe in god! YAY!" I spoke briefly on tolerance in basic terms and moved on to describing the difference between the present progressive (I am walking to school) and the simple present (I walk to school everyday). It was so surreal.
My third class is the epitome of insane. The class of six fluent little boys... the fart obsessed 11 year olds... started a protest today. When Michael requested that we play a game for the remaining hour, of course I refused. I told him that we had a lot to cover and that it was simply crazy to think I would agree to such a thing. He decided to lead the class in a vote. When I told them that my classroom isn't a democracy, they decided to protest. They began to chant, "Democracy in the classroom! Democracy in the classroom!!" I thought this was a good opportunity to discuss different types of governments, so I went with it. In the end, I informed them that they were in my world, the realm of Miss Koco and their Queen would be obeyed or they would promptly be banished from my kingdom. Then one boy, rightly, called me a dictator and started a new chant "JOSH FOR PRESIDENT!" Then it started to get silly. Another boy wrote in the front of his book "
Snow. Oh white thing... you suck.
We were discussing the colors of the spectrum and the separation of white light with a prism during our science lesson today. I had written ROYGBIV on the board, which my little poet turned into an acrostic:
Vote for Josh!
Oh, yes... my students are amazing. Brilliant little creatures. I'm crazy and so are they. This is what I do everyday. Some days are funnier than others, some days are crazier than others, and some days something gets completely messed up in the universe and everything and everyone is just strange.