Friday, October 5, 2012

Year 3: Week 4 – The 190

Let me introduce you to my students this year, all 190 of them.

My youngest student is 8 years old and my oldest one is 14. I’m taller than some of my students and many of them are taller then me. They come from some of the wealthiest communities in the Chicagoland area while others come from some of the poorest. I have a student who regularly travels to Europe for vacation and I have another one who has never been outside of America.

My students have parents, adopted parents, stepparents, uncles, aunts, and grandparents all doing their part to help raise them. Even though some people in this country don’t value some of these families because there are two moms or two dads, I am proud to have these families in our community. If you really think being raised by two people of the same gender harms a child then you clearly haven’t met my students.

My students have faced the tragedy of cancer and the senselessness of violence. They go home and comfort loved ones with terminal diseases and cradle babies just beginning to know the world. Some of them walk to school; some are dropped off by parents while others have a much longer journey.

My students are coming to know who they are. My 3rd grade girls are trying to figure out what it means to be in a group of friends, not so unlike the way my 8th grade girls are dealing with social issues. I have 5th grade boys who value humor in social interactions and 7th grade boys who are trying to break out of the role of the class clown which they now find limiting.  As my 6th graders confidently assert themselves as new middle school students they are finding that the freedoms they are enjoying come with even more walls then they had in 5th grade.

My students are remarkable athletes, scientist, mathematicians, musicians, writers and artists. What’s more impressive is that they are nice people, respectful citizens and caring friends.

My students have weaknesses and they struggle. They have senses that distract them, hormones that betray them and emotions that leave them conflicted and confused. Behind smiles there are tears and in anger there’s a longing to be understood.

My students are my kids. They come to my mind when I’m cooking at home or running along the lake. They frustrate, delight and never cease to amaze me.

I hope that one day you will meet my 190. They would love to share their world with you. 

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