We told the students about the schedule change today.
We put the best possible spin on it, talking about how going to blocks is good for learning, how they'll have fewer transitions, how they'll get the same amount of learning time in each class but just grouped differently....
They are not happy. Not happy at all.
Some actually proposed striking - making signs and having a picket line. (Which is kind of awesome, and if they do it, rock on.)
A lot of them aren't particularly excited about the change to blocks - 90 minutes sounds awfully long to them (which I get - it IS a long time). But more, they're upset about the teacher change. Odds are some of them will get their exact same teachers, some will get some of the same and some new, and some will get entirely new. And they are not pleased.
I can't put a good spin on that side, not really, not if it's something you're upset about. It sucks to think that you'll lose those relationships that you've been building. And I acknowledged that. I told them that while I'm super excited about the blocks, because I do think having that chunk of time will be great, I'm unhappy about losing so many of them - that if I could, I would keep each and every one. But I can't, and I told them how sad I am about that.
The most positive thing I could say was that they'd potentially (not definitely - possibly) have the opportunity for a fresh start if they currently have a teacher that they don't really get along with. I said I was sure that some of them were really excited about the possibility of not having me anymore, and that was okay, but even if they end up with me again, they'd at least get the chance to have a fresh start in a fresh group of kids. To their credit, not one kid did any sort of fist pump and whispered "yesssssss" to that, which I thought awfully polite. :)
Actually, several of them broke my heart just a touch - they asked if I could make sure that I still had them. And while realistically I probably can (and will) for a handful, I certainly can't for all of them. It just sucks. There's no way around that.
We have two weeks left together now. Nine more class periods before the change. We'll get through our current unit and end with a celebration of our time together. In each class over the next two weeks, I'll be taking pictures. I want them each to get a class photo of their current group. It's important to remember what we've had. Important to honor it. Important to hold it in our hearts and cherish it. Yes, we'll move forward - but our past won't leave us and we'll keep it close.
(Image credit to David Reece)
PS Hi! Sorry I've been MIA - my computer broke (suddenly it didn't think it had a hard drive....) and I just got it back. Round of applause for the Apple Genius Bar!