“When I say pencil, you say pushers. Pencil.”
And with 32 voices booming our chant, class begins.
You see, I began last week with an inspirational “pump-up” speech as a way to introduce the upcoming state writing assessment—a weeklong test that is often an exhausting effort with little incentive to perform to one’s potential. Yet the stakes are high, so I needed something to strike their spirit, to beckon their best, to bring this “test” to life, to awaken a purpose beyond a numerical score that’s to be filed away for the school’s statistics. That something leaped out of my mouth Monday morning, unplanned and uninhibited. I looked my students in the eyes, as I described our present circumstance in a language they could grasp: sports. (more…)