This is only my second year as a teacher, but I have been very disciplined to take notice of all the important little apsects of the day that can make or break a nurturing environment. By nurturing I mean an environment that fosters a safe learning environment where meaningful life skills and academic learning occurs.
Every morning two sixth grade students lead the whole school through the Pledge of Allegiance,our school pledge, and miscellaneous announcements over the intercom. It is what the students say right after the pledges; "Please stay standing for a moment of silence" that has made me question what the students think this really means.
Last year I didn't say anything to anyone about it. I would just stand there and personally make a mental note about what kind of day I wanted to have and that I was thankful for having a job as a teacher.
But today I couldn't take it any more and I had to say something. After mentioning my concern to a few teachers, I had a conversation with my class. Since it is my students that take turns with another 6th grade class to make the announcements, I felt that it was a neccessary conversation. I need to mention that every time the announcements have been made the "moment of silence" literally has lasted about 2 seconds. It has almost been comical because I can't even gather my thoughts before the students say "please be seated."
To lead off the whole class discussion I first asked my students, if they knew what or who has given them the right to sit in their desk and to learn? I was pleased to hear one of my students say that it is because of the US soldiers. This led to me ask, what do you think the moment of silence after the pledges is for? The students just sat there and stared at me. So I asked more questions to get them to come to the realization that it is really about thinking about our freedom, those that have sacrificed themselves for our freedom and safety, maybe our faith, a moment to reflect on what we are thankful for or what kind of day "I" want to have.
After our discussions we came to a concensus that who ever does the announcements, they need to count 7 seconds so everyone can have enough time to do one of the choices we came up with.