Okay, it's not as bad as it sounds, but today I decided that I either made a great choice, or a horrible choice…Here's what happened. (and this is our 2nd day in)
For Social Studies in 5th grade, I'm teaching about early America. Wanting to read some great historical fiction, I chose this book called Fever 1793. It's about a time when yellow fever hit Philadelphia and wiped out about 5,000 people in 3 months! The story opens with a girl suddenly losing her good friend to the fever. So the literacy teacher that I am, I decide to allow my students to build a connection with this main character, who has lost someone close to her! (Sounds innocent enough, right?)
In their journals they were to respond in one of two ways: a)tell about a time that someone you know passed away, and how you felt, or b) tell what you think it would be like to experience something like that…what if you found out that your best friend passed away in the night…how would that effect you?
Okay, I admit it's a little deep for 5th graders…but in my class, we go deep. What I didn't foresee is the number of kids that I would have sobbing and wailing over the thoughts of losing people that were dear to them…an uncle, a brother, a dad committing suicide, a grandfather…I'm so not kidding, the list went on. Thankfully (and I say that loosely), some kids were just writing about a pet, or they didn't actually have any experiences to write about, but wow…the ones that did! Good night, I'm sure that it was good for them in one sense, but I simply didn't have the man-power to counsel all of the kids that were needing it right then! I've never, ever seen so many kids passionately crying in one room before.
I stepped out of my room for a moment to tell my friend that I felt like a horrible teacher! …I mean, 10 kids…I made 10 kids cry today! Aye!