To the people who gave our students carnations…

I really don’t want to be the flower-grinch in addition to the Halloween-grinch, really, I don’t.  I like flowers.  I think little things mean a lot.  Our kids need pretty things and moments of appreciation and as a science teacher, can I really be opposed to the handing out of flowers which inspire my students to pull them apart and look at their insides and ask questions about the things they find there?  But you see, that’s just the thing… I wonder if anyone took a moment to picture what two dozen 11-year-olds would DO with flowers for the last hour of the day while I was ostensibly teaching science class?  Because the flowers undoubtedly gave the children joy: joyously, they fenced each other with carnation stems, joyously, they ripped the heads off the flowers and surreptitiously tossed them at each other, joyously, they held onto the flowers for dear life to take home to their mothers, which unfortunately meant that they could not pick up a pen because they had to defend their flowers from the fencers and beheaders, joyously, they stuck them behind their ears (cute), onto the stems of their glasses (cute), and into various orifices (not so much), wreathed them, towered them, toppled them, buried their noses in them, tore off the petals one at a time, tore off the petals all at once… oh the joy of it all!

Next time you think about buying thousands of flowers for New York school children, why not just pay for our field trip to a nature center or art museum, or for flowers the day when I want the kids to observe them, draw them, or dissect them, or for any of the myriad things that we need so badly and can’t afford: beauty less-fleeting for the schools.  Please.

(I grant that I am not 100% sure WHY we got carnations today, and possibly it could have been handled better within the school, but still!  Really!  The reason I don’t know why we got them is because I was so busy asking kids to stop doing —- with flowers that I never got a chance to read the four sentence explanation on the little tag accompanying the carnations).



Filed under New York, teaching

3 responses to “To the people who gave our students carnations…

  1. Kathy

    This project was incredible! My child participated in the project yesterday and it’s all he’s been talking about.
    The project involved two components: 1) a social issue education session and 2) the community/public art component.
    All of the children were asked what they would improve in their communities and in the world. They then wrote an essay explaining why and how they would create this change. After, they were given model taxis and painted their “social issue” on the taxi, which they got to keep. My son’s topic was universal health care.
    It’s my understanding that these were the same education sessions the non-profit (Portraits of Hope?) conducted with the kids who painted the real taxis. I went to their website and found this:

    When the kids handed out the flowers they were helping to make a walking garden in transit.
    Not sure if this is a typical approach to social studies and art class but it absolutely impacted my son in a wonderful way. I know he’s never talked about universal health care with me (or for that matter in class). I say Bravo.

  2. ms. v

    Hmm. Well, that does sound good. I’m pretty sure we just got carnations, though, and without so much as a moment’s advance notice. I mean, I can manage a classroom full of carnations in any number of ways if I am brought on board ahead of time and plan for it… but when the kids just show up at the door to my room with them, it doesn’t give me much time to create a pro-active strategy for allowing them to enjoy their flowers while still accomplishing our lesson for the day. I didn’t hear anything about universal health care or any of the rest of it.

  3. Carol

    That’s unfortunate that you didn’t get to read the tag! The point was for recipients to read the tag which said to pass the flower along and then give to someone else. I got reports from my students the next day saying they passed it along to people on the bus, on the train, and for one student a man in a wheelchair, who took the flower and said it made his week!

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