Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Carving a Pumpkin...

Well, I have been complaining to myself about how few interesting activities I have been able to plan to do with this kids. Things that make them excited and motivated to learn about things so I decided to do something that I have never done before...carve a pumpkin. I may be an American citizen but I wasn't born here and did not grow up with any of these traditions and frankly as adorable as all these pictures of kids with pumpkins look I also think it is kind of an odd thing to get so excited about. Then again I have never done it so maybe I shouldn't prejudge an activity I have never participated in.

The past couple of weeks personally have not been great. My sciatica pains are improving but it can still be painful to walk or sit or stand for long periods so work has been crazy. I have not been at my best with the kids so I also did this as a bit of a make up activity for my lack of enthusiasm about the things we are doing lately. I truly think some of these children were sent by the good Lord to test my patience and others as a gift. Some of these children are so bright and interested in everything going on around them it astounds me and makes me want to do more for them, so I sent my poor, already over worked mother out in search of a pumpkin. (Driving around and carrying things are sadly not allowed in my condition, so my mom who is probably the nicest person I will ever know volunteered to find a pretty pumpkin to use.)

I had perfect attendance of course, I have almost always had perfect attendance for some crazy reason I do not understand and don't always want to have. The kids noticed the big pumpkin almost immediately along a with a baby pumpkin my mom thought to bring for me to cheer me up and got super excited, which may not have been the best way to start the day. They were talkative most of the day and drove me bananas, so in the afternoon when I got ready to carve I called up only a handful of students to help me with the prep work.

They all got to feel the outside of the pumpkin and touch the seeds before putting them in a wet paper towel and a baggie to see them grow into a plant. It was awesome to see how some of them reacted to the inside of the pumpkin, a large number of them had never felt a real pumpkin before let alone seen the inside of one. I often forget that the population of children I teach has such a specific field of reference and while some of them at five and six have lived through things that would curdle my blood, some of these simple and sweet things most people experience as babies or small children they do not get. It is always awesome to see a child experience something new. Their little eyes light up and their smile is wider, it's one of the reasons I love teaching and sharing these kind of experiences with others.

I guess my own physical pains have reminded me of some of the reasons why I do what I do and have made me realize that if I am not happy with what I am doing I need to change it. Just as I always tell people if you don't like what you are doing YOU are the only one that can change it. I need to follow my own advice, so let's see what fun ideas I can come up with for November and December my most favorite months of the year... :)

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- Vicky