Stuff Students Say

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jun 14 2012

Tomorrow’s the day.

The LAST day. A day that, for a decent amount of time back in the fall, I wasn’t sure if I’d make it to as a teacher.

All dramatics aside, I’m very much ready for a nice long break before I can even start thinking coherently about changes I’ll be making next year.

The last week of school has been, as promised, pretty chaotic- but we’ve all survived.  We’ve also had several really enjoyable field trips over the past few weeks.  A fifth grade teacher won a grant for all the 5th and 6th graders at our school to spend a day at a park reserve hiking, canoeing, fishing and learning survival skills.  I was beyond apprehensive.  Boats?  Sharp hooks??   How does one even begin to backwards plan for the disasters that could ensue?!  Luckily not much planning was required, as the fantastic park staff had everything extremely well-organized.  My class ended up getting to fish and learn how to start fires with basic tools.  Most of my kids had never touched a fishing pole, let alone a live fish, and it was awesome to get to expose them to something entirely out of their comfort zones.  Like always, they were fast to catch on, although only my tiniest female student was willing to bait her own hook.  One of my toughest boys actually shrank away in fear from the little sunfish he had caught as it squirmed on the hook, though he vehemently denied it later (I managed to catch the moment on camera, and I think I’ll save it for his high school graduation day).

Though my students whined about having to start fires instead of getting to canoe, I think they actually really enjoyed that part of the day too.  J., a student who has struggled all year in a lot of ways, was absolutely determined to get his fire going before we had to load back onto the buses, and managed to get a little flame sparked with less than a minute to spare.  He was so surprised that he jumped up and ran to the other side of the picnic shelter.


I., a very talkative student, must have decided he had his met his match with the tough survival skills instructor.  She caught him talking while she was giving directions:

Instructor:  “I’m going to need you to stop talking while I’m talking, for your own safety.  Capiche?”

I., nods at her, dead serious, then murmurs his assent:  “Touche.”

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    I used to be a journalist. Now I just quote students.

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