Sunday, October 22, 2006

More from The Essential 55

OK, this post really isn't about writing, but I finished Ron Clark's book on teaching (and life) yesterday and promised I'd share some other favorite rules.

Number 26: Do not save seats in the lunchroom. If someone wants to sit down, let him or her. Do not try to exclude anyone. We are a family, and we must treat each other with respect and kindness.

How great is that? I think probably every one of us, at some point, saved a seat for someone else or had a seat saved for us. Not always terrible, if we're talking getting a good view at the movies. But at school? In the lunchroom? I like his logic.

Kids are cruel to each other, in case you haven't noticed or conveniently forgot since you were in 5th grade. But bullying, including telling others they can't be part of your group, continues to be a huge problem. My students, 16 and 17 years old, tell me there's nothing schools or teachers or parents can do about it. I tell them they're wrong.

It's hard to "do something," though. It's hard to get actively involved, to tell your child he or she muct include everyone, to teach others to stand up for the right thing even when the right thing isn't the popular thing.

I like this rule because not only does it discourage kids from being exclusive to other kids, it reminds us that even one person can make a difference. If Ron Clark can make a seating chart for his 5th graders in the cafeteria, then the rest of us can do something equally small and meaningful, at some point.

In other news, I got this fantastic idea for a new novel yesterday while I was in the shower (all my good ones usually come then or when I'm running). These characters, and this setting, just popped into my head and refused to leave until I sat down and got something down on paper. So another storyline to file away for next year's projects.

All creativity is not lost!

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