This week we worked very hard on our understanding of Remembrance Day. This is personally a very important topic for me to teach to my students. We are another generation removed from the last World War and the significance of the lives sacrificed in the name of freedom cannot be understated or forgotten. My nine and ten year olds do not have any first hand experience with war. I can only tell them stories that I know, show them videos and talk about the importance of the sacrifices made.
We had our school Remembrance Day service today. The high school next door, 12 Legion member and many members of the community filled our gym to capacity. The service was 45 minutes long. That is a long time when you are ten years old. Just before we went down to the gym I told my students that this was the most important assembly of the year and that it was extremely important that they be respectful. I told them they are representing not only themselves, but their school and their family.
My students didn’t let me down! I was so amazed at the level of respect these young people exhibited. They stood at attention (a skill we have been working on) for the national anthem and God Save the Queen, and they refrained from talking to their seatmates. I had one teacher compliment one of my students who tends to be immature. She overheard him say to a boy in another class, “you can’t talk, this is the most important assembly of the year.”
When we got back to our classroom I made sure to thank my class and tell them how proud I was of their behaviour. I am sure they think I am crazy - but I wasn’t able to get through thanking them without choking up, and just a few tears. To be able to sit respectfully for 45 minutes is hard for anyone, let alone if you are 10 years old. I set the bar high, gave them the skills required to follow through and they stepped up. If you expect good behaviour you will get good behaviour. I will teach this generation and infuse just enough old school work ethic into my students that they will be successful, not only in my class but they will have skills to be successful in life.
That's my view from the 86th pew.