ONE YEAR WITH AN ENGLISH TEACHER
Day 117, Friday, March 14, 2008
Today, having completed the arduous “English Assessment” process, there was a noticeable sense of relief among the 8th graders. Their fears and worries had obviously been alleviated now that the ordeal was over, and you could almost see that their bodies and minds carried a lighter load. They were free (at least for awhile) of anxiety and distress. Life was once again more of an amusing pastime than a strenuous task. I saw more of the normal adolescent behavior than I usually see during the school day – more laughing, leaping, skipping, grabbing, and gallivanting. It was as if a herd of wild antelopes had been set free from their pens. About all we teachers could do was keep them within reasonable bounds and prevent them from harming themselves. I actually did get some production from the students during English class, mostly because it was the kind of free-spirited work that matched their mood. We listened to a buoyant song by Paul Simon and then the kids spent a few minutes writing down whatever came to their minds. The resulting poems and sentences were natural, untamed, and beautiful expressions of their feelings of freedom after weeks of concentrated academic work.