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Chaperoning DC: Arlington National Cemetery, White House, and Bowling (Day Four)

Arlington National Cemetery

It was a tranquil morning at Arlington National Cemetery. We had the privelage of presenting a wreath from our school during the Changing of the Guard Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Four students were selected by a committee of teachers based on essay applications to be a part of the ceremony. Several of their parents flew to DC to surprise them that morning at the cemetery. This was such a peaceful morning of touring gravesites of people like John Glenn, JFK, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Robert E. Lee, Thurgood Marshall, and the grandfather of one of our students. As we walked through the site I was so impressed by the respect that was shown by the students toward the fallen heroes of our country.

Iwo Jima and The White House

On the way to the White House we stopped at several monuments outside of the city. Iwo Jima’s statue is a famous one as it honors all fallen soldiers from the US Marines since its inception. This statue is modeled after a famous image from the Korean War. Because you cannot drive up to the White House, the buses dropped us off at Ford’s Theatre, where President Lincoln was shot and we walked from there to the White House. At this point, we had some time before our evening activities so we relaxed on the lawn and took in the sight of the White House for a while.

Bowling

Our final night’s activity was aimed at getting students’ energy out before the journey home the following day. We split into small teams and bowled at a local alley. Initially, we had hoped to view Sheer Madness, but due to Covid restrictions were unable to go to the Kennedy Center.

The Ameri Brit Mom

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Carry: Five Minute Friday

Happy Friday and welcome to the latest edition of Five Minute Friday‘s link-up. Each week bloggers around the world use the same prompt to inspire short pieces that they spent five minutes crafting. For years, this community of writers has been a great inspiration to me and supported my blog and business. I love showing up to share pieces and read posts from my FMF friends.

This week the prompt is: Carry.

Educators are in the midst of a discipline upheaval. Even the most seasoned teachers are experiencing a lack of respect and discipline from students in their classrooms. Teachers around the world are leaving the profession at disturbing rates and many blame the pandemic of student apathy for ending their careers.

Like all educators, I have faced some of these problems this school year. I have outrageous stories about the actions and words of students in my school that I would never share on the internet. Most days I find myself disheartened by the way in which students disregard their own learning and expect the teachers to cater to their needs and desires.

While many are tempted to blame the blatant lack of appropriate social skills, I believe that the issue facing students in 2021-2022 is of a different origin. Sure, the pandemic hasn’t helped. But in my humble opinion, we are teaching students who are carrying more than any other student population of the past. And this calls for a shift in our mindsets as teachers.

There have always been students living in poverty, unsafe homes, and states of mental health crises. But what the students of today carry that is exclusive to this crew is the collective experience of the past two years.

They have grown up in a world where the grown-ups have set poor examples on self-control and peacefulness.

They have traded much of the primes of their adolescence for a world of fear and apathy. Life has been uncertain for most of the days that their memory serves.

As adults, we are equipped with the ability to perservere and we remember a world before all of the disruptions. These students have no True North to which to look when they need to remember that these struggles are temporary.

Instead of finding myself burnt out like so many other educators, I am looking for ways to help students to carry these loads. I find that when I try to ask about the issues they shoulder and give them voice in the classroom then many of the discipline issues subside. Being reactive is no longer an acceptable role of a classroom teacher. We must meet our students and give them space to let down the loads that they bear in order to rest. We must help them learn to carry the loads that show no sign of disappearing anytime soon.

As much as we long for our controlled environments before the pandemic, we have to admit that those days are behind us. We will never again live in a world that Covid-19 did not touch. So instead of trying to run things the way we always have, we must remember that the goals of teaching have shifted. Before we can teach a student to read, we have to build their strength as individuals so that they can continue to carry those things that weigh heaviest on their shoulders.

The Ameri Brit Mom