This past school year I started posting a weekly Quote of the Week to accompany a Video of the Week. The goal being to start each week with some thought provoking material for students to ponder. Ideas which had very little to do with content and very much to do with self discovery. Most weeks I matched the quote with the content of the video, but sometimes mixed up topics for extra connections/conversation.
If this sounds interesting, I made a “40 Week Deep Thinking” document. Currently, all videos work but they are mostly YouTube links and have broken in the past.
It was incredibly satisfying to hear how students engaged with these topics each week! The depth of meta-cognition some freshmen and sophomore students would engage in was quite impressive and helped with overall participation in class. Several students also said it was their favorite part of class, which I am still trying to decide may or may not be a good thing…
On the final day of class a student in the last hour of the day asked, “Mr. Johns, you show us all these motivational videos and challenge us to push ourselves to find who we are. Why don’t you push yourself like this?” Being taken aback a bit by this question I did my best to explain that this year I have been experimenting with blogging and even trying some creative writing, mainly poetry.
If you have interacted with teenagers much I think you can imagine the mixture of replies. “Poetry!?” “Yeah right.” “No you don’t.” And since this is 2018 one student replied, “Bet!”
So I did.
I read a few poems and a couple short stories I am developing. Again, a mix of replies. “You didn’t write that!” “That was better than I thought it would be.” “Did you write other stuff like that?”
Since this blog is a part of my self discovery and these students pointed out I should share more of this process, here is a quick poem. I envision this being a little ‘morning reminder’ kind of post to have in the bathroom.
When you look in a mirror, what is it that you see?
Do you see all that you are, what you are meant to be?
Visualize your future self, think of what you can do.
Work today to reach your goals, and help your dreams come true.
It was clear from this interaction with my students that sharing the experience of trying new things would have been a great opportunity to lead by example. A lesson I am going to continue to keep with me as I post and continue on this journey of self discovery. Peace.