No Longer Needed

At a conference once, I heard a teacher during a presentation make this comment: “There comes a point when I am no longer needed. My students are engaged…I can sit back and watch….my goal is to have students who are confident and excited… the by-product is increased knowledge.”

This description of a teacher is my goal, too. Having a classroom buzzing with students , all engaged. Students confidently making decisions. I plan and model. I set out materials. Then I watch and listen, ask questions and offer feedback. My role is to be the catalyst. The students’ role is to be in motion.

Tomorrow, I plan to have my 6th grade students watch this video and then I’ll guide a discuss using these words – vicitm, perpetrator, bystander, upstander. I’ll ask:

Why doesn’t the bystander act?
How might the bystander have made a difference?

Then I plan to nudge my students to notice if any of the stories we read during our Social Issue Book Club Unit (using this resource by TCRWP) involved upstanders. I plan to end the lesson asking them to spend time being on the lookout for upstanders, asking friends and family to talk about upstanders they have known, and to think about how they, my students, might become an upstander in their family or community.

Tomorrow’s lesson is to set my students up for our the End of Unit Project. As a culminating project, I will guide my students to pick an issue important to them and to plan out a way to TAKE ACTION in order to raise awareness about this issue. Then, on the evening of March 12th, families will visit to view our Middle School Social Issue Fair.

My hope is that all next week, my classroom is a buzz of activity. Students will be researching. Students will be creating. Students will be collaborating and discussing. And I will watch and listen and offer feedback. And my hope is, there will come a point when I am no longer needed.

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NOTE: During March, I plan to revisit prior blog posts and revise. This post is a revision of this post, written on March 20, 2014

 

 

End of our Reading Celebration

At the end of our Reading Celebration today, I said something like this:

Readers, I want you to have this poem as a bookmark to use as a reminder of this unit. As I read it aloud, think about why I think this poem matches some of the things we discussed during the unit, things like:
* how when reading we stopped at the trouble in our stories and noticed the relationships between the characters involved in the trouble.
*how we noticed who has the power and its effect on the trouble,
*how we named the groups the characters belonged to and the social issues that sometimes come about because of these groups
*and how we identified moments when characters were victims, perpetrators, bystanders and upstanders.

Then I read aloud the poem, emphasizing the pronouns:

Screen Shot 2018-03-13 at 5.12.45 PM

What are you thinking, I asked. Their replies:

“I think she’s short.”

“I think he might be blind, like the grandfather in As Brave As You”

“Maybe she’s in a wheelchair so he didn’t see her.”

“I think he is the kind of man who is only seeing his world and doesn’t care about anyone else.”

“Yeh, he’s too important and is acting selfish.”

“I think if the man hadn’t said “Oh my God” then he would just be rude but since he said that, he isn’t so rude.”

“I think the cashier is an upstander.”

“I think if the poem was longer, he’d become an upstander, too and let the lady go before him in line.”

I ended by telling my wise students something like this:
WOW! When I read this poem by myself, I focused on a man not seeing a woman and thought about the women’s movement and the social issues related to gender bias. But now discussing it with you and listening to your comments, I realized this poem could be about so much more. And that’s why I hope all of us keep reading and discussing in clubs. We are better readers when we can do it as a book club! Promise me you won’t only form a club when a teacher tells you to. Read and encourage your friends to read the same stuff and then talk about it.

Finally, my hope is that as we go forward, we rewrite the last line of the poem, “I really didn’t see you” and instead resolve to really seeing all the yous we encounter each day. Let’s try to do all we can to see each other and to stand up for each other.

NOTE: If you’d like to read more about the Social Issues Reading Unit I taught, click HERE for more on ending,
HERE for prepping for celebration
and HERE for Book Tasting.