"There's power in looking silly and not caring that you do." Amy Poehler
It's no big surprise to hear that teachers do more than teach. I'm not the first person to point out that on any given day I am an actress, a disciplinarian, an evil dictator, a nurse, a therapist, an inspirational speaker, a judge, a stand-up comedian, a friend, a big sister, and, oh yeah, a teacher. And sometimes, for the kids, I play the fool.
Homebase is one of the things that makes my school special. A fifteen-minute daily homeroom where we build relationships and character, and occasionally throw in with competitions and silliness. We play BINGO, we compete in the Homebase Olympics against other homebases, we have serious conversations about life and how we treat other people. This fifteen minute time slot can sometimes feel overwhelming. There's so much to do in such a short amount of time! Why am I expending so much energy on something that's not even an academic class?
But at the best times, it reminds me of who we are at my school: we are a place where relationships matter most. We are a place where kids know that we care. Middle school is one of the most torturous stages of human development. Think back to your own experience. I know full well how much people hate middle school because I see the looks on their faces every time someone asks what I do for a living. Homebase in my school makes adolescence a little less painful for those going through it. No, it's not academic, and in the age of standardized testing mania, it could easily be dismissed as a waste of educational time. But it's not. Those fifteen minutes a day teach plenty of lessons, and if there's a lesson from this week it's this: it's okay to make a fool of yourself every once in a while.
Our homebase mission for the week was to re-write holiday songs to fit our homebase theme (Hauptsteen's Jalapenos in my case), and create a music video. My kids created a medley. I told them I would not write, direct, or take charge of the project, but I would make a fool of myself in whatever ways they chose. As a treat to anyone who reads this, enjoy the video. We had a kick-butt thirteen-year-old girl director, a collaborative group of lyricists, and our chorus members dubbed over some of the worst singing. And yeah, there's a 32-year-old English teacher whose main acting skills seem to be opening her mouth ridiculously wide and jumping around. It's silly. It was a fun group project. And for the week we spent creating it, maybe middle school was a little less awful for the kids battling through it.
I teach 7th and 8th grade English in rural Iowa and hope to reflect, connect, and share with other English teachers. Iowa Council of Teachers of English Executive Board member. Iowa Writing Project superfan. UNI MA:TESS graduate.