Today Margaret Simon’s DigiLit Sunday call is to think and write about the word perspective. I’ve loved these Sunday topics. Thank you, Margaret, for creating this shared writing experience. Join in and read more about this week’s topic here on Reflections on the Teche.
Fifth grade was my favorite school year. I loved my teacher. I knew the ropes.
When I stepped into middle school, my perspective on the world and myself changed. It was scary. It was exciting. Friendships became paramount, and the importance of family diminished.
Watching my first-born leave elementary school was bittersweet, I knew what was coming.
As my fifth-grade class comes to this moment, I remember being that kid, and how things change.
So now, with ten days left in their little-kid school career, I talk with my students about beginnings and endings; how when we get to moments like these, before we step forward, we should look back and notice. Get a little perspective on who we are now and how we got here.
Reflecting is not something eleven-year-olds do readily, but I find most are fascinated by their little kid selves. They love looking at old pictures and thinking about the playgrounds they played on, their friends, the glittery backpacks they’ve owned.
I told them about a time when I was in kindergarten. A time when my teacher was sick. How I thought certain things that turned out to be wrong. How silly I felt after I figured out what I didn’t know. How it’s funny now, but at the time I felt stupid. How elementary school, for me, was always about trying to figure out how not to feel stupid.
After I had told my story, students sat on the carpet and told stories.
I remember when..I met…Mrs.N caught us…I was new and people were mean…We played…I broke my finger…
They were full of stories.
Quieting them down and getting them to write wasn’t easy. I told them these were important memories you might forget. We need to write them down and maybe, in the process, we might find something we didn’t realize.
Many asked, are we writing a story? And what is this for?
I told them this is for you. What form it takes and who you share it with is up to you. For now, let’s just write.
I sat amongst my most social group of students and wrote beside them. I don’t know if it was my presence or the subject matter, but they settled and soon there was a magical silent hum. Everyone was in their writing.
To have this happen at the end of the school year is nothing short of stunning. After ten minutes I called time. And they did that other magical thing that brings writing teachers close to tears. The loudest and most talkative ones yelled, “NOOOOO! Can’t we have more time to write?!” And, “Can we work on this at home?”
We had to move on, but they stayed in the moment. A natural ending to a writing workshop of sorts. They ended as they began, by talking.
I remember when… I was afraid my parents would die… I was afraid to sleep near a window… my pink booster seat. I loved my pink booster seat…
Tuesday we’ll return and write some more.
Looking through their writing so far, I found this.
My mom and were driving to the school and i was in my little pink booster seat looking at the school from a distance. “Wow.” i said to my mom speechless. “Why is this school so big?” I asked my mom. “You’ll get used to it sweetie.” replied my mom. I looked out the window again thinking ‘yep i won’t get used to it.’ The school was so big.
I know she has “gotten used to it” even though she thought she wouldn’t. Her perspective changed.
I wonder as she drives up to her first day of middle school will they have the same conversation. Will this reflection help her step on that middle school campus? I hope so.