A brief break from the thirty day blog challenge...
Recently, my English III classes have started working on a project I developed for the book The Education of Little Tree. The project is worth 200 points and, without reading you the actual prompt, is basically five papers on different topics.
The one I've been most impressed with? The question regarding education. I asked the students to define education and then explain what did/did not fit into those parameters. We have had some of the best conversations in class I've ever had with a set of students. Some of the ones who were most adamant that they were "never gonna use this" declared that there can be purpose in fields of study they never considered worthwhile.
I was just shocked at the responses I got when I demanded that they clarify their thought processes and then put it in writing. Many of them read what they wrote, erased it and started over. Even they didn't like the sound of the words.
Similarly, English I has been discussing The Miracle Worker and how Annie's relationship with Helen relates to them in the grand scheme of things. I asked them, "If you were Annie, do you think you would've given up or stuck it out knowing what Helen is capable of?" Every single student in class had the same response: "She has a responsibility to help Helen."
Since I'm a sneaky teacher, the next question I asked was this: "So as a teacher, is it my job to continue to expect out of you, to push you when you don't want to be pushed and to occasionally give you a swift kick in the rear to get you back on track?" It was a resounding yes. Then I said, "If that's the case, why do you get mad when you know I'm doing the job you expect me to do?"
Crickets, people. Crickets.
But they got it.
And I felt like such a success because of it.