On Friday, a fellow teacher and I took 2 of my classes on a trip to the Central Park Zoo, and I have to tell you that it was good and honest fun. We trekked from one side of the park to the other to get to it, but when we got there, it was well worth it. Penguins, polar bears, and exotic birds were only some of the sites we witnessed. Of course, the kids loved the sea lion show before lunch. Simple things like that really inspire kids.
Some of you are thinking “This early? Don’t you save those for later on in the year?” Yet, I have a problem with that thinking, because honestly, I don’t see why we don’t take these kids out more. It’s scary that some people, administrators included, would prefer to keep their kids caged because they’re just “uncontrollable,” not offering them an opportunity to learn experientially. Imagine if our students actually left their neighborhoods before the age of 14. If it isn’t Dominican Republic, a lot of my students have never actually seen anything outside of the Heights.
Interestingly enough, it was after it started raining that it became a memorable trip. We ran a huge risk by having the kids out in the rain like that, and we quickly had the kids back on the subway, but on the same token, kids love getting messy. A couple of them were trying to continue playing football and Frisbee after the rain came down hard. I laughed on the inside, but stopped it immediately.
I was happy that we also got a chance to bond in that fashion. With all the concentration of getting the kids to produce high scores on their tests, and meet test standards, it’s good to develop them personally and help them reach life standards. It gave me a chance to think about our roles as models and molders for the future.
Imagine if we could concentrate our efforts on letting them be children while simultaneously planting seeds for their futures. With all these garbage after-school programs and 37.5 minutes added to our programs, you’d think we’d use that extra time more effectively to build that rapport with them. We can say whatever we want, but we’re so influential in their growth as people.
It definitely won’t be the last, but my next one will be even doper. I’ll keep you updated. In the meantime, off I go to work on Penny Harvest. Peace.
jose, who’ll probably get a break from the madness on Wednesday …