As my students entered this Valentine’s Day morning, I showered them with hugs and love songs. As I walked through the halls and around the room with my fake microphone, voicing lyrics from L.O.V.E., I was met with laughs and eye rolls, and many turned their backs and simply ran for it. One of my favorite things about teaching middle school is making them smile. I don’t mind playing the fool if it means I brightened their day at least a little because they brighten mine daily.
I thought I would take a moment on this beautiful morning to mention a few of the pretty amazing things we have going on in our space right now – nothing earth-shattering, but significant and special regardless.
- Last quarter’s Humanities project required students to create a piece of art demonstrating activism related to an “ism” of their choice. Each student was tasked with displaying their artwork in a public place in order to reach the target audience of their choosing. For some, this meant reaching out to and persuading various establishments in and around our community.
Below is a picture of one student’s artwork on display at The Mentor Network in town that provides services and supports to adults who face physical, intellectual, or behavioral challenges daily. What a beautiful display of one girl’s passions and a very authentic community connection. I received the following message from this student’s mother:
“Hello Mrs. McMahon, I wanted to thank you for the guidance you are imbuing in [my daughter]. Her Humanities project for last quarter is what our company and I work for and us as employees so passionately stand for. So in line in fact, that we framed them and hung them in our local office.”
- Last week our School Board President stopped in to talk with two of our students regarding their passion project from last quarter. The girls spent a great deal of time researching the sleep needs of teenagers and have requested that the ECASD School Board consider changing the middle and high school start times to accommodate those needs. Our president coached the girls on how to present at an upcoming meeting during the open forum. I’m very impressed with the professionalism the girls have shown and am excited to support them at their board presentation.
- As we enter a new quarter, new goals need to be established. Our group deadline goal is always discussed as a whole group, and I did my best to step aside and let them lead the discussion this time. I was so proud listening to their thoughtful comments while determining whether or not we should increase our group goal this time around in order to earn their chosen incentive.
I heard things like the following:
“It’s called an incentive for a reason. It’s supposed to be challenging, so you work hard and actually deserve it when you’ve earned it.”
“I think we should consider the people who work hard but struggle a little more than others.”
“This is third quarter. We should all be better at this point in the year because we’re getting better every day.”
“We all set our own individual goals and deadlines for the quarter, so we are in control of everything. We are the only ones to blame if we don’t meet them.”
Life is good in the ARCTIC Zone!