One of my students showed up to class a little excited today. "I was published!" she said.
We looked her up on the Chicago Tribune website, and sure enough, her letter to the editor had been published a couple of days ago. The letter was part of a class assignment last week, writing a persuasive piece based on a current event. To make the writing more real, and to give it an audience, I suggested students send it in to local newspapers. "Excellent," I said, "looks like extra credit for you."
For the rest of the school day, I showed off the letter to my other classes. Some students were impressed, and others realized that, darn it, they still have an assignment to do. Reading over it during the last class of the day, I was interrupted by the class interrupter.
"How much do they pay you if they put your writing in the paper?"
"Nothing," I said. "The point is that they're giving you a platform to voice your opinion. Several hundred thousand people can potentially read what you have to say."
He didn't seem impressed. But now, after school as I sit to churn out yet another post on this blog, I can't help but think: Wow, that's several hundred thousand more people than will read this. So ... as I'm sure every blogger has at one point asked: Why do I do this? Mostly, I think, because I want to remember. I want to remember the everyday things that happen in the classroom, things I'm likely to forget if I don't put down somewhere. If life is truly like a dream, then I guess everyday occurrences fade from memory just as last night's dreams do.
So, what do I want to remember about today?
Well, the girl being proud that she had been published is one.
Then, for my ego's sake, I want to remember the round of applause I got from two of my classes when I told them that the student teacher was done and that I'd be taking over. And, after the last class of the day, when I heard one guy tell another as they were walking out of class: "Man, isn't it so much better when he's up there teaching?" "Yeah," the other responded. "Class just flew today."
I want to remember that applause and that comment. I just hope they remember it when, in a few days, I'm up there nagging them about doing their work and showing up on time and all that.