Saturday, November 19, 2016

"Now you are the student, and I am the master..." -Darth Vader

My favorite masked heavy breather perfectly describes a First Day of School I had a few years ago.

From day one I try to establish an open, trusting environment; my goal is to help each student view herself or himself as "gifted and talented" (although not necessarily the kind that comes with a high IQ). 

As students are filling out their first day info cards, one of the questions is "What is something you are good at?"  I explain that we are all good at something--some of us never lose friends; others can cook for a large family; others can sleep through a tornado; some can burp the alphabet. I tell them they aren't allowed to write "I don't know," but to look for abilities that may be overlooked. That year, I said, "Now me? I may be the slowest runner in the land and I can't do the Dougie [that year's current popular dance]. But I can beat you in Scrabble, all day long!" And so forth. 

Sooooo after the final bell of the final class rang, instead of darting out the door to check their phones, one girl smilingly approached me.

"Miss Munnelly, I'm D. You teach people all day, and now it's time for someone to teach YOU. I am going to teach you how to Dougie!"

And she did.

Best first day ever.

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