Monday, January 19, 2009

mlk jr.

The weekend isn't quite over yet. Our school district is off today for MLK Jr. Day. Last Friday, I read my 4th graders a book about Dr. King, and I figured that this would just be a good way to not only review who Dr. King was, but it would also be a nice way to celebrate him in our class since we wouldn't be there today. And to be very honest, we had about ten minutes of down time before the day was over and I needed to fill it with something.

As I started reading our picture book, I noticed one of my students seemed a little perplexed. He didn't quite understand who was I reading about and what this time period in history was when black and white children couldn't just live together happily. Then I got it. My student just moved to America from Belarus (Eastern Europe) about 8 months ago. While he is very fluent and fits right in with his American peers, this was one thing that separated him from his classmates. I stopped reading and asked my kids to raise their hands if they had heard of the man I was reading about. All hands shot up around the room; all hands except for his. He looked around and sort of sunk down in his seat. Embarrassed that he didn't know something everyone else did. I quickly assured him that we were excited to teach him about this great man I was reading about. Several other students chimed in with some things they knew about Dr. King.

I went back to reading the story, and it was pretty neat watching his face as I read. He raised his hand through out the story to ask questions, to fill in the holes since he'd never heard this "famous" story before. At the end of the day I was so happy to know that my little time filler, was actually a big moment in the life of one student. A very good feeling for any teacher.

Enjoy your holiday. Whether you're at work or at home, think of the man we're celebrating. And be thankful.