Preparing for the Future
Trip Start Jan 10, 2007
34Trip End Ongoing
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When Thursday finally arrived, the excitement at school was palpable. My fourth graders were first and when I walked into my classroom the soccer players were deeply involved in a pick up game, the doctor was examining the housewife's baby while the farmer/cowboy looked on, and the students were getting out their notebooks. They each proudly had their turn in front of the class declaring, "I am a doctor (or whatever they happened to be)," and striking a pose for the camera. In 2nd and 3rd grade things pretty much went the same way. There were the soccer players, doctors, farmers/cowboys, a fireman, a team of teachers, a few giggling actresses, two veterinarians with their dogs in tow (one of which being Chiclet), and even a forest ranger. After the requisite photos, they were paired up with a fellow career person and given a place in which they had to set a mimed scene. The forest ranger helped the firefighter put out a fire at school, a doctor gave an actress a shot after she was rushed to the hospital, and the veterinarians together cured their dogs after a walk in a supermarket.
In first grade, half of my girls were teachers who were way more fashionably dressed then I ever am, though I was flattered to see all the sunglasses pushed up on their heads as mine always are
The fifth and six graders, who probably spend more time thinking about their future jobs, ended up being a bit more creative with their assignment. Along with the teachers (again with the sunglasses on their heads), veterinarians (dogs still in tow), and soccer players, there were also two photographers and an artist along with a singer, bus driver, secretary, and lawyer. One girl even came as a university student and two as police officers. Their scenes included one in which the police officers busted a soccer player who was caught shoplifting, an artist chastising a photographer taking unauthorized pictures of her art, and a lawyer-secretary team defending a criminal (played by me) in jail.
At the end of the day, walking home as the first drops of the afternoon rain started to fall, I reflected back on the aspirations of my students. They had all been so excited, some of them so sure of what they wanted to be. The park ranger couldn't wait to defend animals from the poachers in the national parks and the secretary was very serious about her ambitions to make it to that office job. Everyday I see all these kids with so much promise, so smart and working so hard against odds I don't even think they're aware of, and it gives me hope. Walking home that day, even though I'm not really one for praying, I sent a little prayer up to the dark clouds above anyway. Please let these kids make it, please give them a chance to do what they really want with their lives. Please.