(Yes, Spellcheck, I know ‘feeled’ is not a word.) Feeled. The emphasis on feeled was funny to me and I actually said this phrase out loud to Steve as I was describing something.
I was describing a student that I had during summer school over the past month. For him, All the feels are feeled. Someone stepped on his finger, holy mother of God, you would have thought a piano was falling from the sky. In his ramp design he made with a friend, you’d have thought he’d won the Gold Medal at the Olympics. Excessive talking and gettin’ the stern look and scolding from Mrs. Guiles, head hung in shame like Eeyore. Even though I only had him for 4 weeks, I loved this kid. Full of life and feeling. Most of the time, his excitement was magnetic (other times it was a little annoying) but mostly, just contagious. <<insert Jack Black’s voice from Nacho Libre >>”Dude, we DO have good imaginations! We’re good.” I overheard him say that. So adorable. This made me have all the feels.
Summer school was a joy. I’m reflecting on why I loved teaching so much this summer. It was hearkening back to the days when I walked into my classroom for the first time and felt all the feels. I was nervous, excited, full of wonder and anticipation and couldn’t wait to teach the next day. I haven’t felt like this in a long time. Why was it different this time versus how I’ve felt over the past 10 years of teaching? Because I had a choice. I was able to choose what I wanted to teach. I was able to draw on students’ interests and strengths. I was able to let children dictate the learning. I was able to come up with wild ideas and go with them. We made paper airplanes and measured the distance. We made catapults, boat rafts, towers out of straws and masking tape, marble mazes, houses for the three little pigs, a parachute for Jack (from Jack and the Beanstalk), hoop glider races, marshmallow tubes, experiments using chicken bones, eggs, and toe cheese.(Yes, that’s what I said, toe cheese, not to my students, but to you, just to gross you out. Turns out there is a lot of bacteria on your feet.)
And oh the art, we did! Designing clay figurines, resist using oil pastels, chalk pastel art, and slime made from glue and borax. Green-screening and computer programming using Scratch and Lightbot were an added bonus. I kept those kids so busy, most decided that for their last day, they’d like to watch how-to drawing videos on Youtube
and just draw or make paper airplanes. Creating was our language. I was like a kid in a candy store and so were they. (They are kids, I’m clearly not. But I sure felt like it again.)
There’s something I learned long ago but was reinforced fully this month. Perseverance can’t just be taught from a lecture, it has to be experienced. In many of the design tasks, we talked about variables and used vocabulary in context. Students rose to the challenge and worked together to meet the expectations. They talked A LOT and learned how to communicate better. (Except for that time when one student said, “Have you seen Austin Powers?” in the middle of the group work session, and the other student responded, “What the hell is Austin Powers?” Yes, I was video taping during that particular sequence and had to stop the video and have a little chat with “What the hell?” kid.) That aside, building on natural curiosity is a gift. I’m going to build more of this into my classroom next year.
As the students went outside to test their airplanes, they’d say, “Permission to test” and I’d say, “Permission granted.” Because. it. was. fun. Fun and school shouldn’t be an oxymoron. This is what children will remember about school, that time when their teacher opened the plastic wrap off the chicken bones that had been soaking in Coke and milk for 6 days. (Yeah, that time, when she almost barfed the smell was so overpowering. I was takin’ one for the team that day. The experiment was called Lazy Bones, but I think I’m going to rename it, Stinky Bones. Ew.)
Me: Shark Fin! Class call back: Shark Fin-Oooh-Ha-Ha! Think Finding Nemo. Best attention grabber ever. The kids loved using their native tribe low chanting voices as they responded.
I overheard one student say, as we were walking out during that last week, “I’m going to miss Mrs. Guiles. I’m going to miss this class and everybody.” **Teary.** This is the way school should be. Building community and a love of learning.
That is all. All the feels were feeled this month. All the feels.
Until next Friday. Love you loves.
Gastric Bypass update:
So far I’ve made it to 10,000 steps several days over the past few weeks by going to Raging Waters and walking the Lazy River. Turns out, one lap is 400 steps, in case you were wondering.
I’m down 64 pounds. All the feels are feeled.