This past week was an exciting one, as you all attempted your first Socratic seminar. We have been working for the past three weeks learning about the idea of coming of age. In doing so, we read three short stories that each showed coming of age in a different light. We also worked with generating questions. You all learned about factual, convergent, divergent, and evaluative questions, and you learned to formulate questions for the stories in preparation for our seminar/pinwheel discussion. Thursday, you all impressed me with your ability to communicate effectively, listen attentively, and to respond to literature in a discussion. I want you all to know, we are now famous. The Santa Rosa County Literacy Department featured us on their website. Check it out if you get the chance. http://literacyroots.weebly.com/visit-our-blog2
We finished the week with one of my favorite poems, "Pretty Good." I hope it serves as a testament to each of you about striving to rise above the status quo and to never settle for average, when you are capable of so much more. I hope you know these are my expectations for you this year.
Let's have better than a "pretty good" year. Let's be better than a "pretty good classroom."
I promise you I will strive to be better than a "pretty good" teacher. I hope you will do the same, as you strive to be better than a "pretty good" student.
There once was a pretty good student
Who sat in a pretty good class
And was taught by a pretty good teacher
Who always let pretty good pass.
He wasn’t terrific at reading,
He wasn’t a whiz-bang at math,
But for him, education was leading
Straight down a pretty good path.
He didn’t find school too exciting,
But he wanted to do pretty well,
And he did have some trouble with writing
Since nobody taught him to spell.
When doing arithmetic problems,
Pretty good was regarded as fine.
5+5 needn’t always add up to be 10;
A pretty good answer was 9.
The pretty good class that he sat in
Was part of a pretty good school,
And the student was not an exception:
On the contrary, he was the rule.
The pretty good school that he went to
Was there in a pretty good town,
And nobody there seemed to notice
He could not tell a verb from a noun.
The pretty good student in fact was
Part of a pretty good mob.
And the first time he knew what he lacked was
When he looked for a pretty good job.
It was then, when he sought a position,
He discovered that life could be tough,
And he soon had a sneaking suspicion
Pretty good might not be good enough.
The pretty good town in our story
Was part of a pretty good state
Which had pretty good aspirations
And prayed for a pretty good fate.
There once was a pretty good nation
Pretty proud of the greatness it had,
Which learned much too late,
If you want to be great,
Pretty good is, in fact, pretty bad.
P.S. I didn't discover this poem from a college lit class or my own high school English teacher. I also didn't merely stumble upon it in some of my readings. Ironically, I learned about it from one of my former students, who is now a teacher. She recited it to me over dinner one night, as we were discussing our goals for our students. I am humbled to learn from her and so many of my students this year. It is true, as Whitman, states, "the best students destroy the teacher." Thanks to each of you for showing me so much more than I ever deserve to know. I hope I do the same for you.