This past week the school was literally inundated with chocolates and sweets. The fact that we had six school days this week made Christmas endless. Luckily, my colleague Emily introduced an extremely meaningful activity--everyone brings a secondhand object with them to school, shares its story and trades it with another person.
I have two classes. When I first announced the activity, my class voiced their opinions strongly. They argued that if it's an object they cherish, they won't be able to give it away. It'd be preferable if we changed it to "Show and Tell." However, I really wanted to see how far everyone could go, so I insisted on the exchange part. The girls in the other class also shared similar ideas, but they didn't protest so vehemently.
On the gift-giving day, a lot of girls in the other class started their stories this way: The object reminds me of something really negative, so I don't want to keep it. I had explained that the activity is to give best wishes. Instead, this turned out to be a healing camp for many traumatized kids. Still, I am glad because I go to hear many stories I wouldn't have known.
In the past two years, I've had some chances to have heart-baring group talks with my own students, but I kind of shunned away. To my surprise, today the girls were so frank that they didn't hesitate to share stories about their heartaches, disappointment, and growth. More importantly, the objects they offered might be the only memorabilia from an important relative or friend. Their generosity really impressed me.
The story-tellers shed tears as they narrated their stories, while tears rolled in the listeners' eyes. I can never stop finding fault with people whenever their talks are incoherent, but I relaxed today. In the quiet building, the other classes were busy studying, but I insisted on exchanging stories on the last weekend of 2014.
Having been touched by stories full of emotions, those who hadn't talked yet were worried if they could move the audience. Maggie was so anxious that she couldn't help inviting the girls that sat next to her to make up stories for her object, which made the whole class burst into laughter. We cried and laughed at the same time.
After the activity, Enci came to me saying how wonderful it was. I agreed, but what came to mind was the change of this kid within two and half years. She's' come so far after all those ups and downs, which is a fantastic period to end year 2014.
Though I've been teaching for more than a dozen years, I still have to remind myself to open my heart every day. Santa gave me a perfect gift in return--the girls' honesty. I often wondered if my words had evaporated into the air, but now I know they are of some use.
Every day at work it is not the same because of the different chemistry between me and the girls. I'd thought this would be an extremely tiring Saturday. However, I was so moved that the rest of the day I could feel the good will.
We are approaching the last semester together. Looking back on the past two and half years, I am happy to have come so far, but meanwhile, I know it's not easy to let go when we say goodbye.
後記：照片中的練習取自Keri Smith的Living Out Loud。
P.S.: The exercise sheet is excerpted from Keri Smith's Living Out Loud.