Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Do Good With Your Students Today: A Call to Teachers

I don't know about yours, but my students do not watch the news.  And therefore they are often oblivious to the events in our world that bring hardship and pain onto others.  As adolescents they are naturally inclined to think about their own hardships--they forgot their gym shoes, they don't like what's for lunch, they missed the bus, they failed a test--but they don't spend much time thinking about what other people may struggle through.

And this will be the case this morning.  As thousands of people in Joplin, Missouri wander the streets in disbelief, looking for loved ones, standing in silent tears not sure where to begin the rebuilding of their lives, my students will complain about another rainy day.

But please do not interpret their lack of interest  as a lack of heart.  Kids believe that if it is important, we will address it at school--they expect us to; they rely on us for this; they trust us to do so.  And when we address tragedies like the one that took place in Joplin with our students, they think hard about their world and their values, and they thank us for taking the time to show them.  And when we don't address these issues, we breed apathy.

This morning I will be sitting with my students and looking at pictures.   We will decide how we can help.   Yes, it will take time out of our precious curriculum, but frankly, don't we have an unwritten curriculum for the heart? I hope in the long run my students will leave my classroom able to read analytically and write coherently.   But more than anything, I hope to see them give and care endlessly.

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