1. As always about a year behind the trend, my anthem for today, Smiley Faces by Gnarls Barkley:
I want to be you – whenever I see you smilin’
Cause it’s easily one of the hardest things to do
Your worries and fears become your friends
And they end up smilin’ at you
Put on a smilin’ face
2. Snowflakes again, for the fourth time this winter. It’s not sticking but maybe that’s a good thing. On Monday when it started to snow I told the kids snow is worth celebrating and gave them 30 seconds to just gaze at it and talk about it and cheer a little. Today, it was in advisory and the kids all rushed to the windows (open, as usual) after they finished their survey about bullying (it’s happening in the sixth grade), and I started to tell them to sit down and then I just lost my commitment to productivity and order and we all spent another minute or so with our noses pressed to the windowscreens.
3. Three of our sixth grade boys, one girl, all required to stay for afterschool help in reading. I agree to watch them while their afterschool teacher takes the rest of her advisory downstairs. We wait in the hall outside the room where afterschool French is taught, and soon the boys are dissolving in giggles at hearing their ELA teacher speak French. They start imitating accents. I quiet them down and tell them about my kids making fun of my accent in Turkish… But no, they say, we weren’t making fun of French, it’s just that people speaking African sound so funny! More imitations of “African.” We talk about how lucky we are to live in NYC where there are people from everywhere on Earth and we can hear their languages and try their food and see their clothing and get to know them and ask them about the place they come from. More giggling. The French teacher shuts his door. One boy tells a story about the man in the corner store who speaks AYE-rab (Arabic, I interject). Their afterschool teacher arrives and takes them down to her room. I watch as they walk down the hall, each following his or her own wandering, spinning, dancing, trash-talking 12-year-old path. I just shake my head and grin. Over their heads, she catches my eye and grins back.
4. Last week, sitting in my room while another teacher taught her enrichment cluster. She was giving an interests survey so we can plan our next set of clusters based on what students want to try. One question was which deceased person would you like to invite back to life to meet and talk to?
Is Magic dead? Nawww, he’s not dead! I’d invite Shaquille O’Neal! Magic IS dead! But Shaq’s not dead! What about Charles Barkley? I invited Abraham Lincoln! Why? I want to ask him how he got that beard… Yeah, and was he really that tall?
5. Kids and alums can email in stories of teachers in NYC whom they’d like to thank… you can read about the teachers here. I’m sure none would mind a nice Christmas bonus, but thanks are good, too.