The Project

8 1/2 by 11 Voices

essay 3
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What happens when you give high school students one minute to say what is on their mind? I found out when I asked my class to write on a piece of paper anything that they wanted to say or get off of their chest. The first response was for my class to roll their eyes. I think they thought I was losing it.

Only students who wanted to participate did. They were asked to write down whatever they wanted, without discussing it with their neighbor. I did not limit them on content or language. They could even tell me to piss off if they wanted.

After the initial sounds of paper being passed out, there was an intense silence. The first student finished and I rushed them up the chair. After the first kid went almost everyone followed. The process took about 20 minutes per class. Afterwards, one student told me it was almost like therapy to go up there.

Some students were silly, others were quite serious, I chose the ones that I thought were honest and/or original in thought.

5 responses

  • Voudou ...

    Voudou ... gave props (18 Aug 2009):

    very stong idea! you seem to be the truly inspiring teachers we see sometimes in movies (ie Dead Poet Society). well done!

  • Emily Alexandre Lawrence

    Emily Alexandre Lawrence said (12 Oct 2010):


  • Danny Santos II

    Danny Santos II said (28 Dec 2010):

    This is a brilliant and brutally honest set.

  • Liberty Kifer

    Liberty Kifer gave props (23 Jan 2011):

    wonderful series, reminds me of postsecret. we need more teachers like you.

  • Marco Martinez

    Marco Martinez gave props (24 Jan 2011):

    Wow, it's a sobering thought to know what all of our students carry with them and bring into the classroom. I applaud what you did here and I admire your student's voices: you gave them the space to speak and they spoke from the heart.

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