Saturday, December 6, 2008

One of Those Days

Yesterday was one of those days; one of those really poignant days. A day where you hope those hearing are listening and will take that message and begin doing. A day where if the ideas turn into actions it could be one of those days you talk about for the rest of your life. Am I being cryptic enough, let em explain.
Yesterday a good friend my mine who is involved in politics can and spoke to my class. He talked about his life, how to run for office, how he lost and even how he is totally okay with that. (he was a 3rd party candidate I believe him) Whole that was good and all the focus of his talk was to have my students see concerns in their school, town, community etc. and to do something about them. They had a very easy time pointing out all the things they hated. "Uniforms are lame!" "Binders are stupid." and my personal favorite "The cafeteria food like like my dog barfed on a plate and then peed on it." Jr. High students can be very descriptive when the mood strikes. But, when asked by my guest speaker how to take their concerns and turn them into arguments they were lost. He did though teach them alot about how to do just that. How whining and strikes don't always work but goor arguments with thoughtful composition and intelligent rationale will get you somewhere.
When student asked him about sit in and all the protests Martin Luther King Jr. did he had a very astute observation. He said," Yes, he did do that and all those things brought awareness to the problem but was that the solution. No! Martin Luther King is best remembered for his I have a Deam speach, an opportunity to clearly tell his arguement and what he wanted to see done differently." Now this sparked some interest in kids and I think they saw the light bulb go off. Activism without words does nothing.
So why then an I rambling about some speaker. How does this connect with one of those days. See that is my goal in teahign history. That in just one of my students they see they to are a Thomas Jefferson or Susan B. Anthony or Martin Luther King Jr. and they stopp bitching and whining and decide to do something. Maybe this guest speaker will help to light that spark under my stuents and they will decide to start do someting. I know a hard feat, especially when apathy is the top emotion in the life of a teenager but it has been done before and I hope with this new found understanding my students will do it again.
Here's to hoping that yesterday was not just another day but one of those days...

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