Thursday, January 14, 2010
A Good Day
On days like today, I really love being a teacher. I detoured from my characterization lesson plans today to talk about the catastrophe in Haiti, and the kids were riveted. Only about twenty percent had even a vague idea of what had happened, and the vast majority had never heard of Haiti. I spent ten minutes or so giving them background - we found Haiti on the map and talked about the abject poverty that plagues the country. The kids were floored to realize that there is a place where people are poorer than they are in Mexico, and their compassion for the Haitians was obvious.
After that very brief introduction to Haiti, I played a few reports from CNN to give the kids an idea of the level of destruction and the gravity of the public health situation. Next I had them write down their thoughts about why it seems that natural disasters always devastate the poorest of regions, and I was blown away by their insight. Lastly I asked them what responsibility people in other countries have to help the people of Haiti. Of course, there were a couple of knuckleheads (Knucklehead seems to be the go-to teacher euphemism for asshole; as in: "Johnny just carved Die Whore into his desk, he's such a knucklehead!") who had comments like, "It's not my problem" or "I'm poor too!" but they were the minority and were quickly shut down by their classmates. Without any prompting from me, collections were started in each class, and one of the groups came up with the idea of extending the fund-raising efforts to their own neighborhoods.
The students were more engaged in class today than they have been in a while, I was inspired, and the funds have started rolling in. All in all it was a very good day.