I’ve had a set of unused magnetic poetry sitting on my fridge for a very long time. Today I brought it into class for my students to play with during a rainy indoor recess. I gave it to one girl and I said “impress me”. Here’s what she and her friends came up with:
“Im a confident rockin’ symbol of attitude”
“You rule. Don’t smoke. Always grow. Know that your [sic] pretty, dude.”
“Some people believe a smile can make life smooth.”
I was speechless.
I was so happy that “impressing me” meant expressing these personal, powerful, beautiful thoughts. I asked the girls if I could share their pictures and words online.
I’m so happy they said yes.
Student voice is a tricky gem to find. To honour it means to step back and listen deeply. Participants (teachers and students) have to take turns being vulnerable and receiving vulnerability. Not all ideas will be golden. Some will be fool’s gold. Some will be gravel. But… when gems are found, boy oh boy are they ever precious.