Nothing is worse than not having a driver’s license as a teen. Other than having to wait around for your mom to pick you up. Which is my life right now. Waiting. Watching every other jerk get picked up from driver’s training. They’ve all been scooped up by their timely parents. All except me. And, John, some other kid I barely know. Maybe I can talk to him to kill time.
* * * *
The desks are lined up in three columns facing forward – each column with two desks, side-by-side. The lights are dropped low. The music is mellow and somber.
Students are floating in. They look at me in that typical, quizzical “What-weirdness-do-we-have-today?” Their biggest concern is where they are supposed to sit – “Wherever we want!? Please!?”
It doesn’t matter where they start. In a couple minutes I will mix them up – pair them with someone they do not know well. Today’s lesson is all about conversation – principles of creating good, even life-changing, conversations with anyone.
* * * *
John is the character left out in books and movies and history. He is not an athlete – nor a musician – nor any image of the “high profile” teen. If anything, he contributes to the homeostasis of high school : a target of more than a few aggressors. He doesn’t fit a mold. He doesn’t “look like us.” And, here I am with John with nothing but barren hallways and time.
* * * *
Projected, sober and thick, on the wall is a quotation.
Men often hate each other because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they cannot communicate; they cannot communicate because they are separated.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
Students look for a personal meaning in the quotation. Whereas MLK Jr. was speaking of literal separations through segregations, we create our own walls called “assumed difference,” seeds of silence that grow into forests of fear and hate.
Now, it’s time for the task.
“For the next hour, you have one goal: Understand the person next to you using conversation.” Students are waiting for the “academic” objective. They will find none.
(Read the rest via WeAreTeachers.com)