Monday morning, students stroll into second period, barely awake. Some one in the corner of the room is putting candy wrappers down a classmate's shirt. Another curled up into a ball in their chair to take a nap all the while moaning every few minutes about being hot from gym. I cannot imagine having gym first period and surviving the day afterward - even though I did that with 90 minute blocks when I was a student. Lucky for them, the periods are no where near that long. Never the less, they persist.
Someone is sharing sugar that no one should eat this early. Students are up and out of their seats within seconds of teachers turning their heads. The next thing you know someone is complaining about not having the class they want next period despite the fact that it's mid way through term 3 and this is no news to them. Something has to get them back on track - something to make them want to work.
Rather than working against them, we choose to work with them. We choose to show them skills that are useful to their life - things that they want to learn. What better way to do that then letting them choose what they focus on? This sounds like chaos - it is to an extent, but this chaos is fun. This chaos is only partially controlled. This chaos is freeing.
Monday mornings are dedicated to Passion Projects. Monday mornings are dedicated to crafting the skills they want to learn. But this is English class. But this is school. But this is the real world. So they don't push their ideas too much. One student found an app to teach him how to be better at photography - he's taking more classes. Another chooses to master songs on the Bass to perform for his peers by the end of the year. Yet another wishes to review hair care products, his peer choosing to create a social media brand around their beauty skills.
Some go for what seems like the least amount of work: write a blog post in class on Mondays so I don't have to do this elsewhere. Others go big, electing to fundraise money for local charities or create an entire categorizing system to recommend films to watch when you're bored. Their teacher challenges herself as well - she takes on the project of learning how to decorate sugar cookies, the kinds you see all over Pinterest and barely want to eat they're so perfect. She wants to create a website and business cards to one day sell the fruits of her labor.
I'm here for the students who struggle. I'm here for those who don't have ideas. Someone pushes back, "I have no passions." Another claims he is utterly boring. They flounder. I push and prod and question. I try to find ways to help them pick out an inkling of an idea. Though every time, they turn away empty handed. Nothing sticks.
I try something different. I give them another example. I take on the challenge myself. I'm making my YouTube channel something bigger. I'm expanding Fictional Not Fantasy into the brand I've wanted it to be for some time. The website has been gathering dust, forming cobwebs, safe from the prying eyes of the world. Doing nothing. I vow to make my blog public. To dedicate time to my videos. To post regularly. To clean up my social media and keep on brand.
Fictional Not Fantasy is here.