I spent my morning with two Secondary 3 classes from Ecole de la Seigneurie in Beauport, Quebec. I've visited there in person many times, but today, because of the pandemic, we settled for a virtual visit. In my pic, you can see the two teachers -- that's Ms. Rodrigue at the top right, and in the middle is Mr. Leclerc-Lagacé. A funny thing that happened was I noticed Mr. Leclerc-Lagacé smiling, and looking like he was having a great time -- and I suspected that he was a student sending private messages to a friend! Maybe it's because I'm getting older, but it seems to me that teachers look younger and younger all the time.
It's hard to explain what made today's visit special... but there was something special about it. Even though I only saw a dozen faces at a time, I had the feeling that the classes were engaged. It helped that I got interesting questions in the chat box. Noemy asked, "How can we make writing a habit? I'm really trying!" I loved what Noemy said about "really trying." I told her that that's all she has to do -- really try -- and writing will become a habit. It's the genuine desire to do something that makes it happen. Naomi -- I had noticed her pigtails and that she looked like she was thinking a lot! -- asked, "Have you ever had trouble staying in character?' I explained that though it may sound weird, I enjoy forgetting all about my own life, and crawling into another person's skin -- for some reason, I seem to especially like being a teenaged troublemaker. Which is kind of funny when you consider I am sixty years old -- and I seldom cause trouble! So the answer is no. Writing is hard for me, rewriting is even harder, but staying in character isn't usually a problem.
I've been asking students to write about the pandemic. Today, because I felt the group could handle it, I asked them to remember the hardest moment of the pandemic. I could tell from their faces while they were working that it was a challenging task. One or two even turned off their cameras. But as I told the students, remembering takes courage. Writing takes courage too.
You know what I'm hoping? That one of these students, maybe more than one, will continue writing their pandemic story, and that maybe they'll even expand the memory, ask some "What if?" questions... and turn it into a BOOK!
Thanks to Mr. Lord for arranging today's visit; thanks to Ms. Rodrigue and Mr. Leclerc-Lagacé for sharing your classes with me. And thanks to the students for being I-can't-even-explain-why wonderful!