No more free-play, please!

Starting November 13th,1991 our little school re-opened at a new location.  The fire had only cost us one school day.  We were dedicated to keeping the students on schedule.  We had no books, no curriculum of any kind.  We were truly breaking new ground.  The community rallied around our little group.  We had notebook paper, and pencils and all the basics we needed except books.  That would take a few weeks.  So there we were. What we did most was sadly…free play. We didn’t even bat an eye.  What else could we do?  We didn’t have books.

After 3 or 4 days, the students started begging to learn.  And I mean BEGGING.  Please can we go inside.  Isn’t there something else we can do?  We are tired of free-play.  

We had newspapers.  So math came from the stock market.  Fractions galore.  English came with red pens finding grammatical and spelling errors.  History in the headlines, as current events will be history the next day.  Science was discussed when specific articles appeared.  Before you knew it, we were having school without books.

The kids taught me something very valuable.  Students want to learn.  They don’t really want to play all the time.  Don’t get me wrong.  There were days the kids just didn’t want to cooperate.  But, for the most part, they wanted to learn.  I don’t remember many of the actual lessons I taught.  I remember diagramming sentences, something I know their English books didn’t cover yet.  I remember positives and negatives from the stock market.  

But the lesson I learned was invaluable to me.  Students WANT to learn.  They want a teacher to TEACH.  

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