Sunday, November 25, 2007

harvest festival and good lies

Where did November go?
We had our harvest festival that involved a lot of me complaining that people were ungrateful about celebrating being grateful.
Somehow, in the not my idea category, I ended up collecting $5 dollars a student from all the students in my advisory.
"What's an advisory?"
It's where the homeroom meets the elementary classroom. The 15 students assigned to my advisory are the people I take attendance for and collected trip and celebration funds from- those are the homeroom function. I call their parents when they get into fights in the lunchroom or failed their math test, or haven't handed in a social studies since the first week of September- that's the "I'm your mother in the school," elementary teacher in the secondary school function.

Anyway, we celebrated the "harvest festival" with too much time in another teacher's room, waiting for too little food and the only thing that seemed to be in ample supply was complaints. The very same people who some how fail to see that "23" miles might not be a logical answer to how far is it from Albany to Columbus, Ohio, had no problem judging a scoop of potatoes, a third of corn muffin and one chicken wing to be not $5 worth of food.

And there was a lot of speculation about who didn't actually pay.
So that Harvest Festival will probably not make it into the fondest memories of my teaching career.

But I followed up a few days later in the intimate setting of my own half a classroom. With no other prompt than "say something about our Harvest Festival experience," most of the kids said something like, "There wasn't enough food, but I'm grateful for my family, my friends and my teachers anyway."

So maybe they aren't ungrateful whiners after all.

Or maybe they know more about mouthing the appropriate remarks than I gave them credit for.

None the less, I gave them my speech about lying sometimes being the right course.

"If your boss serves you a terrible meal, you tell her it's delicious.

"If your friend invites you to a dreadful play, he just happened to write- you tell him it was different, but enjoyable.

"And if your girlfriend asks if the dress makes her look fat, you tell her she always looks beautiful."

We followed up the discussion with a discussion about what would make the advisory period more interesting.

K:- More crafts!

R:- More time to play board games!

E: Less time in the College Ed workbook!

Z: You are too boring a teacher to make anything interesting

(I would have let that go, Z. is the king of inappropriate comments, when I first met him, he asked my middle -aged self, if I had sex. Maybe a new teacher would have been flustered but not Oldteacher- I just let it go)

But at that moment I realized my speech might have actually gotten through.

J: I'f you feel that way Z. why don't you just lie about it?

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