The job has changed

18 Mar

I got weepy in Advisory yesterday as we processed the murders in Atlanta yesterday.

It can be a little awkward talking about these things with 6th graders because some are very attuned to the news and some have no idea what happened.

At some point, I said something along the lines of “This isn’t what I signed up for when I became a teacher, but I seem to be having these conversations with students more and more,” and that made me sad because it’s true and because most of my students are of East or Southeast Asian ancestry. So I got weepy. Each and every one of these conversations connecting to the one before, and the one before, in an endless stream.

When I became a teacher in 1988, the hardest conversation I ever had was telling another teacher, who was wearing white pants, that she’d gotten her period.

My students are good, though, because yesterday, in our study of the three philosophies in Ancient China. I had connected them to The Tao of Pooh, and one of them made me laugh because commented that more people should be like Pooh. That led to comments about Taoism in general and how more people needed to be kinder.

I left them with a suggestion to go outside and enjoy the sunshine and to take a moment today to do a kindness to someone, or make someone smile for no reason except to restore some balance to the world. I know some of them will do that. I have faith and hope in them.

12 Responses to “The job has changed”

  1. Gail March 18, 2021 at 5:56 am #

    I completely agree with you. I so wish this world was kinder. Maybe things wouldn’t be as they are if we only stopped to do one nice thing for someone each day. The world is so much bigger than just me, myself, and I.

  2. arjeha March 18, 2021 at 7:48 am #

    There are so many conversations teachers are having with their students that weren’t part of any college curriculum. These are difficult conversations because as you say our students are at different places and levels in their lives. A random ace of kindness a dat is something that should be practiced by all of us.

  3. energylibrarina March 18, 2021 at 7:50 am #

    Thank you Adrienne. May I suggest watching that very short YouTube of Pooh and Piglet’s trips around the tree while fearful of the “Jagular”? Not all fears are imaginary, yet some are. Holding other close helps. Cathie

    Sent from my iPad
    Cathie Padgett

    • Adrienne March 18, 2021 at 8:32 am #

      I play a video everyday as I wait for kids to arrive to the Zoom meeting. That might be a good one for today!

  4. TalaTimes March 18, 2021 at 8:26 am #

    I could not agree with you more about how much things have changed. I love you suggestion to share some kindness and sunshine!

  5. Chrissy Garrison March 18, 2021 at 8:30 am #

    The conversations we constantly have with kids can be overwhelming… definitely not what we studied in school. Teaching the kids to react with kindness, to show kindness to others, to get back to basics so to speak is one of the most important things we can do as teachers.

  6. WOWilkinson March 18, 2021 at 8:32 am #

    Thanks for sharing. I like how you gave your students something actionable at the end.

  7. edifiedlistener March 18, 2021 at 9:27 am #

    Thank you for sharing this window into your classroom. Thank you for not leaving the conversation to chance. Thank you for helping your students find ways to process their thinking and also recognize their own power to act.

  8. hzreflections March 18, 2021 at 1:05 pm #

    That is beyond a tough conversation. I appreciate you sharing your story.

  9. jumpofffindwings March 18, 2021 at 3:55 pm #

    How you sent them into the day—and carry that optimism into your day “I have faith and hope in them”—beautiful.

  10. Lisa Corbett March 18, 2021 at 6:25 pm #

    Acts of kindness really do help us heal from some of our wounds (emotion and spiritual and physical). The trick, I think, is to step outside of ourselves for a while. It’s a great philosophy to pass on to your students.

  11. Melanie White March 20, 2021 at 5:22 am #

    The wisdom in actually addressing these difficult moments is everywhere in this post – your honesty and vulnerability gives them permission, your sadness but hopefulness for something better.

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