Sierra's View: Pushing Students Out of Their Comfort Zones | A 9/11 Post.

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Pushing Students Out of Their Comfort Zones | A 9/11 Post.

Recently, I have to admit, I have been very negative towards the people around me.
I love people. I truly do. But often times, I see the negative attributes about them. I wouldn't necessarily consider myself a pessimistic person, but kind of looking at the negative in every situation. Or, particularly in people.
With my students, with my friends, with my coworkers and with my husband.
I think it correlates to the fact that I have such high expectations for everyone, including myself. That, I, unfortunately, get let down.

Something in my head clicked today, though. Something changed. And I learned a huge lesson.
Sometimes life smacks you across the face.
Because, well, sometimes each of us need to be smacked, in a sense.
I realized that learning, that recognizing, the potential and good that people have, you will be seriously impressed.
I learned this, specifically, in my life as a teacher with my students.

Today was the Thirteenth Anniversary of 9/11. I have posted many thoughts on this special day here and here.  
I usually show a video about 9/11 (especially because my students weren't even alive when this happened! Crazy, huh?) but this year I showed two videos that were a little more intense and emotional, if you will.
I was nervous to see how my students would react.
But, you know what happened?
They became emotional. I had two boys cry. I had two girls cry. We, then, went into a long conversation about what it means to be an American, to be proud of where we are from, and how trials like these can help people grow. I was in awe as I watched them feel things that adults won't even let them feel. I have to admit that I almost got emotional as I chatted with them and watched these videos. If you have a few minutes, please take some time to watch these videos. They are touching and a perfect fit for a special day like today.
I didn't think my students would truly understand. I was nervous that I would be showing my students these videos and they wouldn't respond; that they would be immature and naive about it. But, they were most definitely not.

I also pushed my students more than usual thinking and writing skills by analyzing, thinking about, and talking about The Giver. I was truly amazed about how well they did.

Each year that I teach, I am amazed at how much more these kids are knowing. With the advancement of technology and maturity of twelve year olds nowadays, there are a lot of negatives that are correlated with that. But because of those things, we are also able to have amazing days in class like this. I wanted to hug about half of my students and let them know that what they were feeling was okay…that it's a good thing to actually feel something.

When you push your students out of their comfort zones….
You will be amazed at what you find.

Today, I am proud to be an American.
Today, I am proud to be a teacher.
Today, I am proud of my students.
Today, I am proud of who I am and where I am.

We will never forget. We will always remember.


  1. Thanks for sharing this. I have seen the Alan Jackson clip several times but never heard the story about the boats. So neat. I'm so glad you are exposing your kids to this. I think it is important that kids too young or even not even alive to understand 9/11 understand it now.

  2. I love this post! I teach 4th graders, so most of them are only 9 years old and though I'd love to really talk to them about 9/11 I have no idea what to say or how to do it. Yesterday, I said nothing...except that we should be proud to be Americans and be thankful for our freedom.

    Your lesson was perfect for middle school though!! I hope that more teachers of older children address these issues with their classes.

  3. I think school lessons like these are the ones that matter. they're the kind that kids remember their entire life!

  4. Sierra, you are such a phenomenal teacher. Seriously. What a GREAT lesson! I don't think I had one teacher that taught us anything about this. It's hard finding teachers who actually care. And you are one of those teachers. And quite honestly, I think everyone who knows you can see that. Thanks for sharing, lovely! You're the best.


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