Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Firsts and Lasts

About six years ago my friends and I had a little ritual, a little ceremony if you will. We got on the bus and shared our favourite memories from our bus rides over the previous two years. It was the last day of tenth grade and it was, so we thought, the last time we would ride on a school bus. I don't always remember last days of school but I do tend to remember firsts of different things. I have a very hard time remembering what my last day of regular high school was like, which is sad for me. I think I was too wrapped up in my science fair project and preparing to leave for international science fair that I wasn't sure when that last day really was. I got back on a plane the day before graduation and went straight to school for the practice ceremony from the airport if I remember correctly. Anyways, the point is that today I chaperoned my first field trip as a teacher, and a few funny things happened.

First, we were going to a career field trip at Johns Hopkins and I was the only person who knew where we were supposed to go because it was my school. On the bus I learned that kids don't change. They still write stupid things in the window fog, they still argue about who said what and when when, and they still call "Same seats, same seats!" on the way back, and there still is without fail an argument about who gets to sit in the last row and in that silly awkward chair on the left side.

I think that it was really important for me to remember this lack of change because it reminded me to look at my students objectively and remember that they are the same as I was, they really aren't any different at all than I was. However, there was a fun new thing that happened. There were a few kids who were throwing little paper balls out of the windows of the back of the bus.

One memory we shared and I still remember to this day, is this. We were riding home after school on a Friday. I always sat next to my friend Matt in the fourth seat from the back on the left side. We were listening to music on his headphones. All the sudden the bus screetches to a halt from going about 55. The driver pulls over, stands up, and yells GET OFF! NOW! GET OFF! YOU HAVE A CELL PHONE! YOU BETTER CALL SOMEBODY TO GET YOU! THIS IS A PRIVILEGE! GET OFF! A boy named Adam, ran off of the bus with all of his stuff and cried. His mom had to come pick him up on the side of the road because he was throwing bottles of soda out of the window and watching them explode. The bus driver continued driving.

Instead of getting away with it, or the driver pulling over, a student texted the other teacher who was chaperoning from the back of the bus to report who was throwing things out of the windows. The teacher simply said in a clearly audible voice for those students to stop or they would have detention. Talk about having eyes in the back of your head. The students were quite surprised and got themselves together. It was hilarious. The following text from the spy student was "Nice. Ms. S." This is just another one of the many ways technology has changed us and the way we work. While this may be insignificant in the long run, what it symbolizes is extremely significant. Technology has perpetrated our environment to the insignificant. We can't go back from there.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Miles to go.

It is an interesting place to be sitting at this moment. Tomorrow is the first day of student's coming back to school for the new semester. I just got back to Baltimore from spending a lovely two weeks in sunny Florida enjoying a 75 degree Christmas with my family. At this point I can not tell if it is the nerves setting in, or the reminder that this should not be so different this time around either. But, somehow I feel like this too is a first day of school again. Maybe it is just because I have not done this before, but really I think I am afraid of asking kids how their Christmas break (Winter break) was. I know that I am extremely blessed and I got many things for the holiday - new boots, a new camera, a gore-tex dry top, a lovely week with my boyfriend visiting my parents for the first time, but most importantly my entire family was together for two large scale home cooked meals, one at my aunt's in south Florida, and one at my own house in central Florida. I had an enormous amount of time to spend with my family, my support group, my sounding board, and my best friend.

I know that I am blessed to have had all of these things happen to me over the past two weeks. I hope that my students had something to feel blessed and happy about over their own holidays. I know that they did, I just hope that they realize it. I hope that it involved family and friends, and whatever that special something was that they really wanted for Christmas.

It is for these things that I am thankful to have in this new year. I am also thankful for my cohort peers and professors that I have yet to see this year, but I can't wait until tomorrow, because regardless of how I feel at this moment, the wheels keep turning and there are still miles to go before this long and winding road reaches its deep end.