Our Middle School teacher, Matthew Fredrickson, shares a moment from his classroom.
On what seemed like an ordinary Monday morning in our Middle School classroom, one of the sixth grade girls smiled cheerfully as she looked at me and said, “I like how things are right now!”
For a moment, I didn’t comprehend her meaning. What, the stories? I wondered to myself. The children were crafting stories using their new vocabulary word list-nothing unusual for a Monday morning. The intent serenity of the room was occasionally, and thoughtfully, interrupted with questions about content, phrasing, grammar, or spelling. Smatterings of friendly chatter would follow for a minute or two until gradually, naturally, everyone returned to their silent focus. Teacher and students smiled with each other and laughed at silly puns as their imaginations led him to uncharted lands of heroes and monsters heretofore unknown. The classroom hummed with energy and calmness and… joy.
“Can I have bats in my story?” a student asked.
“You certainly may, if you’d like, and maybe Andrea Bocelli, too.” I said. She smiled and sang some of Andrea Bocelli’s “Con te partiro” (Time to Say Goodbye) to me, and I sang it back to her. We’re both fans of the Italian tenor and at least once a day we sing together a few verses of that song-I don’t know why that particular song-and it was then, before happily resuming her story writing, that she said, “I like how things are right now!” After a reflective pause I understood it wasn’t what we were doing that she liked-even though she enjoys writing stories, especially ones featuring bats-no, it was how completely happy she felt in that moment. I smiled back at her.
“Me too.” I said.