What I Made Today


I made some kids laugh today.  My voice can get kind of high -pitched and silly when I imitate fictional teachers from "back when I was in school."  I guess 10 year olds think I'm funny.  I don't know what that says about me or my humor.

I made some kids believe me today, even though I lied.  I told them that they were a little too old to be making farting noises in the cafeteria.  But, the truth is, they're not.  I still make farting noises.  And I still think it's funny.  I had to turn my face so I wouldn't laugh when I was talking to them.

I made some kids wonder today.  We talked about holidays and traditions in other parts of the world.  It's hard for a 4th grader to think about that kind of stuff.  Some kids researched answers for genuine questions they had about other cultures.

I made a kid cry today.  She forged her mom's signature on a permission slip in the most forced, grown -up looking cursive she could come up with.  About three excuses in, she finally broke down in tears and told me what she really did.  I gave her a hug and told her I was not mad, just disappointed.

It was a typical day of making for me.  I make lots of things for my students everyday.  I can make kids laugh or cry.  I can make them question and wonder.  I can make them feel shame or pride.  On my best days, I can make them feel like like they are capable of doing anything they can imagine.  But, the one thing I can never make for them is their own learning.  Despite my role as a teacher, I can never make learning for anyone.  It's one of the great paradoxes of teaching.

Learning is making on a personal level.  Learning has to be made from within.  And that kind of making is always up to them.

Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself.
-Chinese proverb