The thing I am loving about this whole create-your-own curriculum business, is that I get to totally geek out on subjects that I LOVE. Sure I’m frustrated with my afternoon class and their chicken eyes (eyes open, nothing happening behind them), but I am loving that I get to create or modify assignments based on my own interests. What excites me is that I get to browse back through my memories and pick pieces of assignments that I liked as a high schooler, college student or even graduate student!
One of the assignments, based on a college-internship assignment, is forming our own This I Believe essays. This I Believe are personal essays spoken on the radio, and featured on NPR. These personal essays have been going since the 1950’s and are a combination of famous people and regular joes, and all feature very personal beliefs-based-on-life-experiences. One of my favorites is Be Cool to the Pizza Delivery Dude, which is all about getting outside of ourself and having empathy for others. I am using these essays to spark conversation and critical thinking about different topics, while introducing the idea of writing their OWN I Believe essay and reading it aloud to class to practice public speaking.
Part of what I loved about my high school English teacher, was his participation in the assignments that he gave us. He participated in freewrites, read his poems aloud to the class, got us all involved. It is something that I aspire to, and have yet in my hectic pace of trying to just barely get the class going, done. But My goal is to participate with the students, to model life-long learning, and honestly, to inspire myself toward better writing and creativity.
Who knows where these belief statements will go, but here is one that comes to mind:
1) I believe that I am capable of handling disappointments. I haven’t always felt this way, though, living much of my life as a pessimist. This pessimism can be traced back to an early memory, I think I was 4 or 5 and my mother told me, “Don’t get your hopes up.” I can’t remember what exactly the situation was, maybe I wanted ice cream and we were waiting for dad to come home early to get it, but he might be running late, and my mom was trying to prepare me for the inevitable disappointment. Her statement stuck with me, and I shaped so many years after her statement, trying desperately to set low expectations to avoid disappointment at all costs. But now, as an adult, I am capable of handling disappointments. I have coping skills and a large network of friends and family to lean on when times are tough. And I’ve seen enough to know that times will be good again.