Friday, 1 February 2013

Small Victories

I am sitting on my couch at ten o'clock in the morning, listening to the wind buffet the palm trees. A windy day here in the tropics. I think back upon this last week, and how much I love my work. It can be completely exhausting, and certainly there are moments when my lessons have suffered from lack of creativity from my own inexperience. But I have had many other victories.

Jason Joo, this easy-going eighth grader, fist bumped me when I was leaving.

Chloe told me my cheeks look like apples when I smile.

My second grammar class was particularly quiet for a Friday.

I made my seventh graders bring a scarf to class for homework (it was vaguely related to the literature we were reading) and then they wore turbans for the rest of the period. They were very enthusiastic and called for a turban day to be instituted.

Nagisa and Yuko, two eighth graders, shyly told me they loved my dress as they passed me in the hall. Jung Min, was hanging by my elbow, waiting for the next class to begin. He overheard and regards me meaningfully. "Yeah, Miss Gabriel. I love your dress too."
I couldn't help but laugh at his expression.

Little Katherine, the spitting image of Lucy from the Narnia series, asked me if she could possibly have four body paragraphs instead of three in her upcoming paper on Christian imagery in The Cay ("Ms. Gabriel, I was planning my paper, and I realized there was a lot to say about baptism. I was wondering if I could write another paragraph?" Could you? I wanted to say. Could you?! Of course! Can I do more than the expected amount of work? Yes, yes, by all means! Go forth and prosper!)

On the whole, my sixth graders are impossibly bright. So far we have discussed the literary concept of the microcosm, parallel events, the recurring element of blindness and second sight in literature, allusion and imagery as seen in the baptism and crucifixion scenes in The Cay.

It has to be one of the best places to work. High up on the fourth floor, I am close to the skies in next to the tops of the trees. I have high ceilings in my room. I have friends and colleagues who love what they do and strive to bring the most creative aspects to class to teach their lessons. Brad, our resident history teacher, is using the school handbooks to teach the idea of the legislative process and how change has to go through a series of channels before the new rules are finally put into effect. The class has even elected a President.

As much as I enjoyed history, I do not remember having such things available to me as a child, but then again, we are in a new age and education looks different. The current push is for Project Based Learning where learning takes place through a sustained project, during which the students can discover and use concepts for themselves. It helps that I have no experience whatsoever. Seeing as it's all Greek to me, I have no need to 'unlearn what I have learned.'

No comments: