Thursday, March 27, 2008

Significant events

Quick: Think of a significant event in your life. Something that changed you or shaped you into the person you are today.

Not so hard, is it?

Easier than being asked to come up with a topic for a research paper, right?

OK, maybe it's not the easiest thing in the world, especially if you're 17, and you're not sure if you've ever accomplished anything in your life. The thing is, my students have been reading about significant experiences. They've been talking about what makes an experience significant. They've brainstormed possible topics for their very own personal essay.

And today was the deadline to submit their top three experiences. I would then help them narrow down their ideas, help them choose the one that would make a really great paper. Something they could maybe include next year in their college applications. So ... I collected what they had come up with.

And ... this is why I go from loving my job and my students to hating it and them:

The most popular topic was: My first day of high school. How interesting can that be? "The school was big. It was noisy. I was scared. I didn't know anyone. Then I met some friends and it was OK." Then there was: Graduating from eighth grade. And let's not forget: My first job. My first boyfriend. When my grandma died. The time my sister/my cousin/I got pregnant.

And gathered here are some of the more "interesting" ones from just one of my classes, seventh period:
  • The frist day I get my dog.
  • My first time doing it (sexual intercourse)
  • My nintendo 64
  • The time I had the stomach flu (I learnd it sucked)
  • When I first shaved
  • When I got my rabbit
  • My first ride on a roller coaster
  • another day with the "shrink"
Some, of course, got maybe a little too personal, some too painful, and thrown in the mix were some intriguing ones:
  • I got robbed in the suburbs
  • when my mom stopped beating me
  • war in Croatia
  • my first time going to jail
  • When I found out I had cancer
This was going to be the easy essay of the year. The fun one for them to write and me to read. Now I wonder.

Especially when I consider this last submission. From a kid who silently sat working most of the period:
Yeah, can't wait to read his essay.*


appopt said...

* although I realize this last one might be really cool if he submits it as a graphic novel.

middleson said...

lol....this post had me laughing. good luck, i'm sure you'll get them to find the nugget of true insight amongst all the 'going to tasty tacos for lunch' (that's what i'd get in my class)

A said...

This post cracked me up. Like an egg. ;)

The Husband said...

The picture is of some characters from the Nintendo Gamecube Game "Pikmin"

appopt said...

Ah, so I can't even give him credit for originality ...