Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The best field trip ever

The field trip involved 47 ninth graders speaking with about 25 prospective teachers at Towson University, about the book A Hope in the Unseen. The idea was that the kids would get something by speaking with the college students, focusing on questions from the college life section of the book, while the college students would get something from talking to some students in an actual urban high school today.

It was a distinct success, one of the best field trips I can remember ever having.

Favorite moment #1: Having two representatives from the Class of 2008, two representatives from the Class of 2006, and a representative from the Class of 2005 there. I invited them for a little "keep it real" discussion with the kids after the other college students left. They all had me as their 9th grade English teacher, and what a joy it was to see them all there, together, as near adults.

Favorite moment #2: One of my favorite new kids this year, we'll call him "Kevin," came up to me with a grin after his discussion with the college students. "Guess what, Mr. M?", he asked. "I asked them what major I should take if I want to be a President, because that's what I decided I want to do someday, and they told me I should think about Pre-Law or the Military because a lot of our Presidents have military experience and then they said I should..." and he went on and on and on, and I don't think that conversation could have happened any other time in our history. (A colleague wrote a piece that covers this theme; it's really good - check it out)

Favorite moment #3: Speaking with Cedrick, one of my most memorable former students, for the first time in a couple of years. I taught him in the Fall of 2002, my second year of teaching, the year that I felt like I really belonged, and he was one of that year's most memorable students. He would just listen to me with undivided attention - the absolute highest compliment a kid can pay a teacher. He was an average student at first, but I remember I would write the top scores on the weekly quiz on the board every Monday, and his name showed up once, and, after that, he wouldn't accept anything else, and he would compete with his classmates about who could score the 95 or 100. Such a neat kid, one who worked his butt off and took care of his mom through breast cancer and took higher level courses an upperclassman even though he was placed as a 9th grader in the lower track. He is now a Junior in college, something unbelievable to me, taking classes towards an Exercise Science degree. And he was so good with the 9th graders today, kids who were are six years younger than him, kids who needed to hear the things that he said - stuff about hard work paying off, about high school only being four years and the whole rest of your life is in front of you, that if they play all the time now than that's all they'll be doing when they're twenty like he is, that taking advanced coures put money in his pocket when he went to school and is helping him graduate a semester early. All of that.

All in all, a great day.

1 comment:

Zeek and I said...

Wow! Fantastic, Your students will remember that forever! And as a teacher you will remember it as one of those great days.