So all of the sudden, I realized that I didn’t post Monday, that’s not the only thing I forgot, or Tuesday. Monday I forgot to collect homework and another meeting later. Perhaps it had to do with watching the football game. Ok. Games. But what excuse is there for not picking up homework on Monday? NONE! I just forgot. I keep telling the kids they need to remind me of things since I’m getting so old. How old? Have I mentioned that I would be able to retire at the end of this year? I won’t, but I could!
Anyway, you may also be wondering about this terrible teacher who gives homework on Fridays to pick up on Mondays. To be honest, I give very little homework. As a technology teacher I can’t guarantee that my students have access to a computer or the internet or the programs they might need, so I give them time in class to complete all they need to do. But the Friday homework assignment…ahhhh. It is my favorite assignment of the year! I send kids home with the assignment of spending an hour with members of their families without using technology. While I am not a cruel teacher, their outbursts of anger and outrage on the Friday I give it are music to my ears. They bluster and argue but I persist. No phones. No computers. No video games, or iPads or tablets. No iPods or mp3 players. No television. Oh, the joy as they complain, especially when I tell them they have to write a paragraph about it and turn it in on Monday. I have found the perfect homework assignment. It must be done on the weekend to give them enough time to arrange it. It is the “impossible” assignment and kids squawk and complain about it. But they do it. Usually when they report back, they not only can say that they’ve survived it, but that most of them actually enjoy it. I then get to the point: technology is a wonderful tool, but it shouldn’t replace interaction with people and we need to get out of our technology shells and actually interact with people. We actually talked about that on Tuesday, but got those reactions.
What we did on Monday was talk about college. We were supposed to show off our caps and gowns and our diplomas. Caps and gowns were an easy out: we rented them and did not keep them….well, I just realized that maybe I kept the cap. Oh well. The diploma was different. I had one once. It was lost when we went through a financial valley and lost our house. We didn’t get everything out in time. I faced it head on. I told them the truth. “I don’t have my college diploma. I changed careers and I went through difficult times and it was in the house when I lost it.” Then, I looked them straight in the eye and said, “But I never gave up. I may have lost that piece of paper, but I didn’t lose what was in my heart and in my head. I overcame.” I thought it was important for them to realize that life hasn’t always been easy for me and that difficulties could be overcome. I also let them know that what helped me overcome was the relationship with my wife. They are shocked knowing that we have been together for 34 years. While my faith in God was an important part of the overcoming process, I can’t talk about that in class. Maybe we as teachers should be more vulnerable. I have found that the kids can handle it.
This is Monday’s – two more days to go