Not for children
Hail to the teachers! Happy Monday!
My lesson plan for this week is to make my students laugh. That’s right, evaluators! No Content and Language, no PLC and AYP, no SRI and SAT, just ABC and 123. And don’t get your panties and jockeys all into a jumble just yet, because we’re going to teach and they’re going to learn and the world will keep on spinning.
My freshman Language Arts classes left off with Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Our plan was to first watch it, then read it, then perform it, and then discuss it. All of that sounds great. But in the end, all of it is secondary. In the grand scheme, it’s even entirely irrelevant.
On Thursday, March 12, the last day of classroom instruction before Governor Whitmer declared a state of emergency for Michigan and mandated school closings, our classrooms were wet with the smog of confusion and fear. It was then that we teachers rose to the true purpose of our profession: to be the holy centers for our students.
We knew well when we embraced this calling to teach that we were doing so at the scorn of society and salary. But we continue forth with it because we know that there are days like Thursday, when we must be the adults in the room for our children. And so, we smiled and made them laugh, and let them make us laugh. We taught them the history, biology, mathematics, language, and poetry of our present condition. We armed them with the tools to navigate the forests of their lives. We looked them in the eyes and loved them. We reminded them of the goodness in the world. That day, we were teachers.
We must be adults for our children. Adults are scared, but they don’t panic; sad, but they smile; tired, but they persevere; angry, but they mind their manners. Adults tremble, but they’re strong for their kids.
Children are watching us. We are their compasses, their barometers. But some of us are not doing right by our kids and failing them when they need us most. To those children with broken compasses, I say: Don’t be like that. There are other ways to be.
You can be afraid without panicking; angry without insulting; tired without lashing out; unhappy without complaining. You can strive for more and appreciate the little; have for yourself and give to those in need. You can love your neighbor as you love yourself. You can be good and do good without shame or harm.
Come forward, colleagues, heroes, guardians! Our students beckon this day! Let’s feed their hearts and feed their mouths. Let’s teach in a robe with a coffee cup. Let’s perform a Shakespeare Puppet Show. Let’s play “Ode to Joy” on the harmonica and dance the dabke and read aloud The Giving Tree. If laughter be the song of life, play on!
Content and Language Dearborn Public Schools requires all staff to post visible Content and Language Objectives every day for every lesson. PLC Professional Learning Community. AYP Annual Yearly Progress. SRI Scholastic Reading Inventory, a reading test. SAT Scholastic Aptitude Test, a college entrance exam. Love your neighbor The Bible KJV Matthew 22:39. the dabka a Levantine folk dance. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. If laughter…on “Twelfth Night” 1.1.