Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Show and Tell!

After the Advanced Placement Exam (AP), I suggested to my students that we spend the last two weeks of school with them sharing whatever inspires them, and that would be their parting gift to us. I wasn’t exactly thinking show and tell, but that’s what they called this experience, and I went with it.

They shared many TED talks on things such as dispelling the myths about GMO’s, honoring cafeteria workers, how schools are killing creativity, suicide, and on and on and on... However, I had several students who played the guitar, one who shared a map of a city that he developed, one who showed us her talent of being on the school’s color guard, one who shared a painting that she did in the school's art class, and she is going to leave the painting to the school, and one student even showed a YOUTUBE video of her band that she is going to travel with instead of going to college right way; she deferred her entry into a performing arts school.

Well, after the two weeks of show and tell, I’ve been reflecting a lot on myself, my teaching, schools etc.

Me, like so many other teachers, get caught up in our subject matter, and sometimes don’t make the time to get to know our students. I am lucky that I teach literature where they are encouraged to share their ideas and thoughts, and this helps me to get to know them a little more. But, I never seem to have enough time for show and tell.

One of my students, who is an introvert, showed a TED talk on introverts that was quite eye-opening. After the video, he explained how the video pertained to him. Another student showed a video on how love can save the world, and I had no idea until we discussed this video that she was into this love thing. I learned so much about my students during their last two weeks of school, and I only wish that I had taken the time to allow them to share more throughout the school year, and I may have been able to individualize the instruction just a little bit more.

However, not sure about other teachers, but I am always feel like I need to cover so much in such a short amount time until it slips my mind to get to know the multi-dimensions of my students. The whole child is important....

Also, I have been thinking a lot about our education systems that seem to pour tons of interest in the core subjects, and we leave out many students when we don’t put the same emphasis on the arts. Many students are not going to take the traditional route and should be encouraged to explore their creative side while at school. I am envisioning a school that encourages and fosters the idea of students trying different things and discovering what moves them and going in that direction.

Recently, I was at a jazz concert in DC that featured a bass player who was from inner city Baltimore. He talked about how his father was a musician, and jazz was always playing in his house. He hated jazz, and didn’t want anything to do with it. However, jazz continued to play in his house. He toyed around with different instruments, but was not interested until his Dad put the bass in his hand, and the rest is history.

Now, hearing his story made me think about how fortunate this guy was to have the experience of being able to toy around with different instruments until he found the one that spoke to his heart. I just wonder what would have happened to this guy if he was forced to chose engineering, business, computer science or any other field that may have stolen his creativity. I want to believe that he would have found his way to the arts, but we just never know. Exposure, Exposure, Exposure!

This world is so rich because we have so many people with different talents: writes, musicians, painters, designers, engineers, teachers, social workers, city developers etc., and shouldn’t all of these talents be equally cultivated?

Those two weeks of show and tell got me thinking about a lot of things, and I am soooo grateful for these students who taught me a whole lot and gave me much to think about....

Show and Tell does have its place in High Schools!

Sigh... So much to learn!


Anonymous said...

Keep these posts coming, Jacqueline! I'm at a STEAM school this year and we have, for the first time, become an arts integrated school. We are incorporating the arts in every way that we can and it has been an enjoyable experience. I'm transferring my daughter to my middle school next year for that very reason! I want her to be exposed. Great post!!

Bookish Brown Girl,

Jacqueline said...

An art infused school.... So delightful to hear. I think that exposure never hurts! How did the choice unit go for you? Writing a follow-up blog about that experience soon.

Unknown said...

I love this Jackie. I also enjoyed how each student brought their own personality and was brave enough to show themselves to everyone.

Jacqueline said...

Lyds, I total admire their courage... Thanks for stopping by.

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