These 7th graders of mine are a hard sell. Sometimes I wonder if they are even conscious during class, until later when a parent mentions their child has told them something we discussed in class and how it impacted them. They're pretty quick to let me know what they don't like; *groan, "Not another project", "I don't get this book", and not so quick to tell me what they do like or what they are thinking about what we are trying to discuss. I'm learning to watch their faces during class and every once in a while get them to give me some written feedback. And I'm trying to listen outside of class for those comments that might seem innocuous, but have a great deal of depth.
This week I read aloud Love That Dog by Sharon Creech to introduce our poetry unit. The majority of the responses I was getting were along the lines of, "ugh, not poetry" and "I don't get this book". As we study different forms of poetry, the kids will be creating a book of original poems centered around a theme they choose. After school I overheard one of the boys talking to his older sister who graduated last year and is having to do a similar project in her freshman English class right now.
"Do you remember Mittens?" He asked, his voice soft. She just gave him a funny look and head shake. "The dog?" He prompted.
"That's going to be my topic."
This is why I teach.