Thursday, March 25, 2010

Love my job

After all the crap I put up with (mostly from adults) it is nice to be reminded I love my job.

Today in history class the students put on different skits representing the various groups that settled the West. When I found this out, I quickly changed my lesson plan to match. We read "Too Soon a Woman" from our textbook. It's a cute story about a family who came together under the Homestead Act of 1860. But before I introduced the story I took a moment to ask the students what groups they played in history.

Whenever a child said "The Mormon Trail." I got all excited and said "you played my ancestors." Each class had a different reaction. First period acted all shocked and then eager to ask "are you Mormon?" Second period already knew, several months ago one child proceeded in telling the whole class why "Mormonism" is the stupidest religion. I literally laughed. And then taught the class the value of making inferences "where am I from? what can you infer from that?" He's a sweet kid, and he seems to hate all religion so I wasn't offended at all. Plus, he did tell the story pretty accurately, thanks to South Park. Third period one student quickly shouted "My Uncle's Mormon." Sixth period seemed really excited and one of my favorite students told everyone how the four guys his dad works for are all Mormon and really tall with lots of kids. :) Seventh period did as expected and took the opportunity to try and diverge the whole lesson. "Can Amigos be Muslims?" "If they do, do they have to wear the hats?" I'll take any curiosity some of those kids give me. So we had a nice discussion about how race and religion are two totally separate things.

I told the students you'd never hear a "Mormon" call themselves that. We prefer Later-day Saint or LDS for short. Naturally, I had to clear up confusion on polygamy . . . since all their skits had that in it. And of course, my 1st period was smart enough to ask "So you don't drink anything?" Yes, I don't drink anything . . . and survive. We worked on rewording the question and a couple of students refused to believe I'd never so much as swallowed an ounce of alcohol. I told them it was easy to go to a bar for a friends birthday party and not drink. Hopefully that will stick with some of them. One of my students asked why she couldn't go to my church. I told her she can come anytime she wants, then we talked about the difference between the church houses and the temples, well as explicitly as I could.

It's always a bit awkward to talk about my religion "in historical context." I have such a big urge to "Preach the Gospel." But I can't, so I don't. Hopefully it helps prepare one or two of them for something further down the way. I had students at Dunbar who would find out I was a virgin until I married and they just seemed to get so much hope in their eyes. Two of my most gorgeous female students both vowed to do the same. It was so awesome to watch them justify their choice to their peers. "If he won't marry me because of something that stupid I don't want him." Then they'd check in with me "Was your husband a virgin too?" Back at the male student pestering them "See, there are guys like that out there. And that's who I want."

***

My students really have been so fabulous this year. Sure, there's five or so I'd trade off, but I really really love my 1st and 2nd periods. I can't imagine having a job where I couldn't start my day with such darling delights. The funny thing is, those two classes are as opposite as it comes. First period is 25 strong, almost all A students who kick butt on standardized tests (I know cause we take 5 throughout the year). Then my second period only fills the first two rows with a whopping 16 (who are never all there at once). They mostly earn D's because I take pity on them and their standardized test scores are in serious trouble. But both classes just have such a wonderful "feel" to them. I love my life from 8:45 to 10:45. The rest of the day is always questionable.

3 comments:

Polly Blevins said...

I love talking about our religion. My favorite is to tell people here that I am. When I was engaged, I managed an apartment complex. One guy who lived there knew I was LDS. He asked if my fiance was also. I told him yes and then he asked to see a picture of him. I showed him and he said, "well, he looks like a normal guy." Right after, he kind of got embarassed and said, "of course he does, that was a stupid thing to think. I don't know what I expected but not normal." I just laughed my head off. I do wonder what people expect because they are always surprised that I am so normal.

Polly Blevins said...

By the way, I finished Animal Farm. Good book and a fast read. Now I am going to read 1984 (by the same man, you may have read it.) Did you know that both books were banned under any country that was communist rule? THey are still suppressed at times in Islamic places because of the focus on the pig. I thought that was interesting.

Scott and Claudia said...

You're lucky to be able to talk about religion to openly. In Utah we still walk on eggs when it comes to religion. It's not as bad as when I first started teaching some thirty years ago, but it still is a delicate issue.
I suppose whenever there is a super majority of any one thing or people, you have to be a bit more careful not to offend the minority. I agree with and respect that position.
Enjoyed your entry. You gotta work a little harder on loving those PM students. I think you took Ida in the afternoon, didn't you? I'm sure she felt similarly about you, my dear!
Pa

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