Skip to main content

Bus Rides

Today I spent about seven hours on buses with students. The first trip involved 49 students on a trip to Central Michigan University, and the second was to chaperone a spirit bus for a basketball game.

The ride to CMU was lively. Students were awake, engaged in conversation up and down the aisles. For some students, like the one I sat next to on the bus, this was his very first college visit--ever. For others, this was a return trip. They were hoping to finalize a decision about their next few years.

After a tour around campus and lunch in a dining hall, we piled back on the bus. And before long, a tranquil silence took over. Students drifted off to sleep or just experienced a calm contentment with the day. Some questions were answered, and some new ones were developed. A powerful trip ended in quiet reflection.

I write this surrounded by students on the return trip from a basketball game where our team just won.

It's been a long time since our team has made it this far. It's 9:00 PM. I expected a similar bus ride, but students are alive with energy. They're singing. They're chanting. They have so much pride.

As a teacher, it's so motivating to see students so proud of their school and their peers. I’m looking forward to this energy, this enthusiasm, reverberating down the halls tomorrow.

Go, Zebras!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Targets and Time

I just finished Cris Tovani and Elizabeth Birr Moje's No More Telling as Teaching: Less Lecture, More Engaged Learning from Heinemann's Not This But That series edited by Ellin Oliver Keene and Nell Duke.

Needless to say, I pick up anything that's by Tovani and Moje because of Tovani's belief in the workshop model and Moje's extensive work in both disciplinary and out of school literacies.

After finishing this quick read, I've been thinking a lot about two things.

First, how we spend our time matters. I get less than 60 minutes with students each hour. Time is a hot commodity! Because of that, I am constantly looking at ways to maximize instruction. If I pass papers back this way or if I move this to this point in time, I can gain another minute. And those minutes add up! Sometimes, however, it feels like there is just never enough time. All teachers know that. In fact, I've yet to meet a teacher admit that she or he has too much time with students, especia…

Stop Ignoring Research

I just finished Kylene Beers and Robert Probst's Disrupting Thinking. I keep thinking about page 103 in the text, where they discuss the idea of "research-based practices" and how many of us "are willing to ignore what we know from research." They mention teaching grammar in isolation, spelling lists, lack of conferring in writing classrooms, monologic talk, prescribing novels without choice--the list goes on and on. I get frustrated because I hear from other teachers often excuses for why they do these things. And even I have felt forced to resort to some of these practices at times because it's what kids have been conditioned to expect at school. It is amazing how quiet a classroom can be when you give every student a worksheet. And if compliance is our end goal, then a worksheet works. But if we want students to undertake meaningful work that's often the work supported by best practices, we're going to have to be willing to get a whole lot more u…

Kids Wielding Critical Thinking

I first heard Cornelius Minor speak at NCTE’s convention last fall, and I was instantly impressed. He very quickly had dozens of adults moving around the room, jumping rope, making lists—learning in some of the most engaged ways.
I recently subscribed to the Heinemann Podcast and I found myself devouring the series of episodes featuring Minor. Trust me. You don’t want to miss these.The episode on “The Over-Engaged Student” is one of them. Through the story of “Prez,” a nickname given to one particular student, Minor explores ways that he is able to “turn the volume down” “but respect his enthusiasm” on the type of student that we have all encountered. You know, the one who always seems to have a comment or contribution to make, even if, at times, it might not seem relevant. And that’s when Minor says this: “One of the things that we never want to do is silence kids.” That made me stop and think about all the times that I’ve asked kids to “hold that thought” and then never returned to …