Tuesday, January 13, 2009

They Never Cease to Amaze Me!

I hate it when I underestimate kids. I have been a teacher long enough to know better. This past week has provided me with incredible insight from my students. Following my personal exercise in choosing a touchstone word (see previous entry) and creating a vision board, I decided to present the same task to my students. What I received was beyond my wildest expectations.

To the left is a photo of a few touchstone words my middle school students created (wish I could have photographed all 120).

In addition, I asked the students to write several sentences explaining why they selected the word—here are a few responses.
My touchstone word for 2009 is…
…acceptance because I want to accept the way I am. I am weird, funny, pretty smart and cool to be around and I want to accept that for a change. I also want the people around me to accept that this is who I am.
…change because I go through a strict routine each day and repeat many things. Finding new friends, being adventurous and showing willingness would all be good changes for me.
…meditate because I need more focus and peace. I need to learn to focus on one thing.
…generosity because I think I need to be more giving. I could help out with things more at home and give up my own wishes to make others happy.
…trust because I need to gain my parents trust back. I also need to gain more trust from my bus driver.
…confidence because if I don’t start believing in myself I will never succeed.

The honesty of adolescent children mystifies me. They can peg themselves, as well as the adults in their lives, with more precision than any “shrink” and are far less expensive though more blunt and less congnisant of your feelings.

The next class period, following our selection of touchstone words, we discussed “vision”. We talked about what it meant to look ahead to the future and make decisions based on what we want to become, how we want to live, what we want to possess etc… I then presented to them my 2009 Vision Board (aka christinekane.com) and explained the importance of having a visual reminder of our hopes and dreams. One student said, "Yeah, so we won't forget, right Mrs. C-P? 'Cause I forget or lose something everyday."

"EXACTLY!" I retorted as I let them loose to create their own vision for 2009. I wish I could have filmed the presentations of their boards. It was inspiring to watch kids articulate their dreams and “get” what it means to have vision. Many of them included their touchstone word in their vision boards; spoke of wanting to be more environmentally conscious, or friendlier; of wanting to vacation in the Bahamas or go on a cruise; of desiring an iPod, new cell phone or paintball gun. More than anything, they seemed to enjoy exploring the vision and creating a reminder of what to strive for this year. Yes, they never cease to amaze me.


Anonymous said...

Oh, this is the one thing I miss about teaching - the lesson that connects all those little dots and lights them up from the inside.

All the talk about education reform now that we have a new President leaves this kind of thing out. Teachers who can create and kids who want out of the box.

Linds said...

Now I know who you are! I came to visit from Janine's place.

I absolutely love the way you have used the vision boards,and I actually think I am going to go right now and make one for myself too. Perfect!

KMY said...

Beautiful, Marsha! These are the things I loved about teaching, giving kids an outlet for all that wonderful creativity and insight they have within them.

Very cool!

Anonymous said...

Could I borrow one of your kids. I need a psychologist. I could buy them a hamburger and coke and learn more about myself. Even your mothers Kindergarteners are good at that. Or, better than that, I could just use Chandler...he could help me a lot.
Love ya

Alyssa said...

Thanks for doing such an important job!