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Robbed: Project 180, Day 42



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Hated to do it. Had to do it. What’s done is done. No going back now. Have to own it.

I stole. From my kids. In broad daylight. Witnesses everywhere. Won’t get out of this one. I am guilty. No trial necessary. I submit.

I took a day. I robbed my kids of their read-to-learn day. Today. Friday. I promised that Fridays would be reading days, but yesterday I informed the kids that I would have to go back on that promise, that I would have to use the day for something else. And so, regretfully, I pulled the plug, reading day down the drain. Let me explain.

Time doesn’t wait. And as the first third of the year will soon be behind us, I am beginning to feel the widening gap, as it marches ahead of us, immune to fatigue, steady and unrelenting, the tortoise in the race. So, it stands, then, that the hare, assuredly fast but not always wise, will use a cheap trick to stay in the race. Some day the hare will learn. But today is not that day.

Today, we will leap headlong into our My-Moment-to-Make-a-Difference speeches. In their own ways kids will confront an injustice, using the power of their words and the strength of their ideas to right a wrong. And though I tried to keep them in suspense, they would not have it. They cajoled me into telling them what could possibly be more important than their promised day. So, I let the cat out of the bag, and told them that I needed to introduce their speech projects. As one might imagine, this did little to settle their feelings of betrayal. In fact, it was salt on the wound. Public speaking settles no one.

And to that point, their tummies turned and the groans began. It was nothing new. I’ve heard it all before. I have heard it for years. I heard it last year when I introduced the same project, a project that–if you remember–earned top ranking as producing the most-satisfying moments of my twenty-year career. And while I have the same high hopes again this year, there is a huge difference. There is no grade to dangle. As such, this stands to be the toughest test yet for 180.

Last year it was a required opportunity. This year it is simply a provided opportunity. But that is the essence of the 180 classroom: opportunity, and I will not waver. I can’t. And so, with a great deal of trepidation, I will present that which strikes fear into the majority of the population, a public-speaking opportunity. Opportunity. “Thank you for the opportunity to speak in front of people,” said no one ever. And the kids will not likely thank me today either.  Of course, they don’t really have to do it. I can’t make them. I won’t make them. And I will tell them as much. I provide opportunities. They make choices. And while I am honestly worried about their choices, I am also incredibly eager to see  the outcome of this formidable challenge to the 180 approach. What will they choose?

For those who do choose the opportunity, they choose a path not easy. Public speaking is feared for a reason. It is hard, but hard is not impossible. Hard is a key ingredient to growth. I am pleased to provide such an important growth opportunity. The kids deserve no less.

Happy Friday, all.



One Reply to “Robbed: Project 180, Day 42”

  • I can put words on paper, you can put words on paper and so can the students. But you take us out of the comfort zone, speak in public? Who me? As I have gone thru life, public speaking is necessary, you need to be able to communicate and express feelings and ideas. It can be a simple conversation or standing up for what you think is right, we need to get beyond our comfort zones, to be able to communicate verbally,fearlessly.

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