Cinderella, Minecraft, and Secret Super Ninja Powers

Last week I related to my students, a small table group, about how I explained the theme(s) of the original Cinderella to a grown-up that morning. I pontificated on those themes with this group, verbosely elaborating the bigger ideas of dysfunctional, blended families, distracted or neglectful parents, father/daughter relationships , and the price of greed (it was the original Grimms’ Cinderella, with cut-off toes and heels, pecked out eyeballs, you know–the works).

Small Ukrainian student looks up at me, and says, quietly: “Mrs. Love, are those your super powers?”

I look at him, at first not understanding, and then realize, “Oh, D….., you mean my ability to come up with the big or main idea of something so fast?” He says yes, and then says, “Well, Mrs. Love, that is not a very good super power…”

I bust out laughing. I told him I could also turn invisible, but that would scare him, and the abilitiy to decipher themes is the only real super power I have.

Now I’m reconsidering my super powers. Today is a testing day, and I find myself with time to actually read blogs, and now share that anecdote. I read Teacher Tom’s post on a hashtag, and it’s pretty impressive. He is pretty clear in that students have been complaining about the same things since anyone taught anyone anything. I do want students, and teachers too, to rethink some of their methods, and consider that even though all knowledge may not be pragmatically or immediately applied, it is still a good thing in and of itself. Just because I don’t personally use algebra doesn’t mean that I am sorry for the experience of having taken it. If anything, it enhances my ability and buffs my super powers. I know have an understanding of what it’s like to learn something uncomfortable and challenging. Is that all students want every experience to be breezy and blissful? I offer this idea: life is contrast, and education provides those options to fill in our own life chiaroscuros.

Detour: With the help of my younger son and the insistence of a few students, I started a Minecraft Mondays at school. My mission, to help this band of stalwart builders not only create their virtual worlds, but to learn to be kind to one another in the process, ambassadors as it were, as they are creating the social fabric they want to wrap themselves in. I am not a Minecraft player. I don’t want to be a Minecraft player. But I do know the excitement players feel. They live for this club. And, my agenda is to make sure they go out in those virtual world with some manners. There exists this fourth dimension, and it is just as real as any we face. I would link more information about Minecraft if I could, but alas, all is blocked.

Blocked. Blocked. Blocked.

And here is what I wish my super powers really were: the ability to protect students from the dangers of the world via transparency and knowledge. They could use that right away.