Reba and I went to talk to Dr. Ellington earlier this week about our trip to Pine Ridge. We shared the good, the bad, and the funny. Dr. Ellington told the class that she felt like she had accomplished something: if two of her students can go to Pine Ridge and only see the positive side of the students, then she has succeeded. Similar to Dr. Ellington, I had this feeling of accomplishment. I had this feeling that I have completely transformed as a person and future educator. The “Thugging Hard”s and “Sticky Note Crumpler”s used to scare me; I’m 5’3” on a good day, and I have to teach these 6 foot giant gang members? Bring it on, I say! I fell in love with the Thugging Hard character in the classroom I observed. He was eating a beef stick and drinking a can of Dr. Pepper at 9:00 in the morning. He had ear buds in during the teacher’s lecture. But you know what else he did? He volunteered to read out loud from the book the whole class was reading. AND he wrote. He wrote and wrote and wrote. When everyone else was on their phones or had their heads down on their desks from being high, he was writing. I stared at this boy with admiration. Reba shared a story of a student she observed in a different classroom; he had a goal of having the highest absent record. Well, you know what? Go for it kid! You’ve got a goal, dammit, reach it! If I learned anything from that trip, it is to focus on the positive, always.
I don’t want to go the extreme and say that I used to be the “Sticky Note Crumpler” student at the beginning of this semester in Dr. Ellington’s class, but I was definitely a challenging student. I didn’t accept Dr. Ellington’s methods and I didn’t believe all the resources on Twitter. I was purposefully being stubborn or the “Devli’s Advocate” so that I could challenge these new ideas. I feel like I have come a long way from that. Clearly–I mean I love “Thugging Hard” and Reba wanted to high five a kid that stabbed a guy! (“Brick killed a guy!”…Anchorman? Anyone? Anyone?) I’m so glad Dr. Ellington didn’t come in with a bag of tricks because how boring would that be? Our class rocks, and I’m so proud of everyone in it. And so THANKFUL for everyone in it for pushing each other along to believe in being the lone nut.
Side bar: My favorite snack is popcorn. I bring a bag of popcorn to most of my classes. When I eat this bag of popcorn in class, I am simply just snacking away, trying to settle my constant food cravings (not pregnant). But, when I eat this bag of popcorn in Dr. Ellington’s class, I feel like I’m at a movie theater. She tells stories of “Sticky Note Crumpler” guy and stories of her “Res Tat” and tells us to be the “lone nut” and inspires us with so many warm fuzzies. She has my attention 100%, and I can’t wait to see her next move. She’s like a Disney film. A really hardcore Disney film.
This is all of us.