Monday, February 04, 2013

Real Life Conversations at School: Laughter edition

The backstory:  My daily job entails spending time with 9 through 12th graders. In the  flow of those days, I'm working with students who are approaching adulthood.  My 11th and 12th grade classes are enjoyable (at least I find them enjoyable), but they are also a serious business, because they are about complicated ideas and the preparation of students for the demands of college and the world beyond.  And mine is not the only class making demands on their time and intellect.  There's english, math, science, foreign language, art, music, and the extra-curricular activities that allow them to prove to colleges that they are good time-managers and well-rounded students.  Among these sometimes exhausting obligations, it's far too easy to lose sight of laughter and joy in learning.  So I turn to the 2nd grade for a reminder.  For the last 5 years, each week, I walk over to the Lower School and read a book to the 2nd grade.  This year, I choose to read two books from Beverly Cleary's Ramona series.

On Friday afternoon, as I wrapped up the 2nd grade's weekly Ramona, I told my 2nd grade buddies that I had to walk back up the hill and teach my 12th graders.  

2nd grader:  Will you read them the Ramona book?  I think they would like it.

Me:  No, I won't be able to read about Ramona.  We are studying the Supreme Court, so I will tell them some stories about the Supreme Court.

2nd grader (in a tone of solemn knowledge):   I know about that.  It's the BIG building.

I said good bye and walked back to my classroom and the last class of the week, where I promptly repeated the conversation.  We all laughed, and though the 12th grade made an unsuccessful bid for Ramona, we returned our attention to the matter of free speech in the big building with smiles on our faces.  Not a bad way to end the week.

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