I am up with insomnia (my stupid throat and sinuses woke me up). It’s official: I have a throat cold. My throat was scratchy all yesterday, and now it’s still scratchy but I have no voice. Teaching without a voice is always an interesting, fun thing to do. Children are both sympathetic and manipulative. (For the record, adults are really just children in larger bodies. I find.)
Yesterday, at car rider duty, I got to watch passion come alive and what it looks like in action. A little boy had been sitting for half an hour, very quiet and unengaged. Then someone asked him about his The Avengers shirt. Suddenly, this child could not shut up. Even after all the kids around him had been picked up and were long gone, he just told me and the other teacher all about his extreme love for DC Comics and their super heroes. He described the special features on their costumes. He demonstrated some of their intensely amazing moves for taking out bad guys. He went into crazy detail and an insane amount of information. My brain is still spinning. Need to know stuff about super heroes? Ask me – I know where to go to find the answer.
His favorite super hero was Batman, and he went into an extreme lecture about Old Batman (black and blue costume, not as many cool gadgets and moves, not as awesome) and New Batman (The. BEST. Batman). He talked about Joker and Joker’s issues for at least 3 minutes straight. When I was able to find a moment to get a word in, I told him, “I’m actually more of a Marvel girl, but one of my favorite DC characters is Harley Quinn. I really liked her hair in Suicide Squad.” And that little boy looked at me, all shocked and stuff, and went, “Wait! YOU know about Suicide Squad?!? No way!” And then he was off and running again – something about Captain America and Thor. I tried to ask him about what his favorite part of the school day was – did he like Math, Coding, Music, Art? And he just looked at me like I was insane: Stop trying to change the subject, lady. Focus. THIS IS ABOUT SUPER HEROES.
It was literally the best part of my day.
Not because of the comic book super hero discourse, but because y’all…this stuff is clearly this little boy’s PASSION. Have you ever watched someone talk about their passion? If not, please try to one day. Even if you don’t understand a word they’re saying, the energy emanating from them will enrapture and floor you. When someone loves something big and hard…that’s magical. Just magical. I could literally see his neurons rapid firing and synapses connecting and bridging. So I stood there listening and listening to him, only understanding about 1/4 of who and what he was talking about, and I wondered how much time he’d spent that day sitting through writing and math and reading lessons completely disconnected…but had someone brought him a DC comic book to read or let him write about Batman or pulled in Captain America and Joker into a math word problem, his whole school day would have been fun and interesting and he’d have stayed engaged all day.
Therein lies the problem for public schools – 20 million different little personalities, 20 million different passions. But if you can find a kid’s passion, they will be yours forever (I think).
I’ve got a relative who used to be a teacher pre-No Child Left Behind/Race to the Top/data craze, and he’d let kids read comic books or whatever they wanted to read. Then he’d read them the classics, and hope they got something out of it and/or connected at some point. I watch a lot of his former students interact with him on Facebook, and mostly it’s just to say: thank you for being who and what I needed.
At any rate. I just have insomnia, a sad throat, and I left work yesterday only half-way prepared for today. I have a feeling it may be a Your Teacher Has No Voice Let’s Play Some Games Day. (I can’t wait to hear more about Captain America and some kind of Civil War issue he’s having with one of his super hero buddies.) …Also, our yearbook theme this year is Super Heroes, and I literally can’t wait until they come out now JUST so I can hear this little boy’s reaction to it.