Saturday, August 15, 2015

That far away look...

Last night I attended the "Last Hurrah" party, hosted by my friends Leann and Heidi, before the current batch of college kids go back to college (in the case of Leann's son, Kyle, who will be a sophomore at Pitt this year, and many of his friends who graduated in 2014), or OFF to college, in the case of the 2015 graduates.  I loved seeing so many familiar faces, and was a little sad to think that most of these faces will not be hanging out in my classroom this year.  One of those faces belongs to Aiden.

Aiden was in my class for the first time during her last semester in high school.  Unlike most of the peeps in my classes, I really only knew OF her, and didn't really know her.  Early on, I couldn't quite figure out what she was thinking about the goings on in my room.

And then one day, I saw this look in her eye.  It was a combination of total engagement and total contentment.  I wanted to take a picture, but was afraid I'd scare off something magical.  (Know what I mean?)  I wish I could bottle that understanding and connection, and sell it.  I'd even give it away for free.  It's a precious commodity, and when I see it, it makes my heart sing.

Aiden came to the "101 Most Influential Fictional Characters" study KNOWING that Holden Caulfield would reign supreme.  She never strayed, once, from that ranking, although she studied and compared everything as it came along.  She reflected an inner peace that will take her far, as she heads to Temple University this fall.

This summer, I've been incubating, a lot, as I consider how to expand on the teaching of thought and reflection.  I want my room to be a place where everyone breathes.  Not in a way that means nobody is engaged -- far from it.  Instead, I want it to be the place where everyone is engaged within the means of each individual.  Edutopia recently shared an article entitled "Avoid Learned Helplessness."  Certainly a challenge, in this GOOGLE IT instant society.

There are answers -- yet they are never given.  Answers are available to be discovered.

Teaching intention.  Yes.  Teaching thought. Yes.  Hoping to see that magical look of total understanding in another student's eye - More than you can imagine.