Today was my first Ethics class of the new school term, the last term of the year. Just nine lessons to go until the end of the year and my kids move on to high school, and I get a new batch of Year 6s next year.
We started a new topic today: Homelessness. The first lesson today was really just talking about what homelessness is, and how being homeless might affect people – making them feel unsafe, unhappy, making it harder to eat healthy food, keep clean, etc. In the next two lessons we’ll be talking about what people and society can or should do about homelessness.
The teacher’s materials started with introducing the topic to the children with a short story, and then telling them we’d be discussing homelessness, and to tell them that some people in the class might know someone who has been homeless, and so to be mindful of that during the discussion. The teacher’s eyes only notes contained advice that this topic might upset some children, and to be aware of their behaviour and handle it appropriately (using our training materials). The discussion was going really well, and the children were a bit more engaged than usual – it’s clearly a topic that some of them had pretty strong feelings and ideas about.
Then one girl put her hand up, and when I called on her she said, “My parents told me that before I was adopted I was living on the streets.”
I don’t remember what I said in immediate response. I had to handle this sensitively and keep the class both moving on with the topic and from harassing this girl with inappropriate questions. I must have said something sensible because we managed to move on with the discussion. Fortunately the girl didn’t seem upset in any way – I guess it’s a fact about her past that she’s already internalised and become comfortable with. So that was an interesting revelation – I had no idea this girl was adopted before.
The other good thing about today’s class was another girl who is usually very quiet and says nothing volunteered to answer a question, and gave a very well-considered response. I had this girl in my Year 4 class two years ago and she was similarly quiet. I feel her thought processes are not as rapid as most kids her age, but since then she seems to be gaining in confidence and ability to absorb and discuss a topic. It’s really wonderful to see her develop and become more intellectual in this way.
After my class, I took a long walk home, detouring past the new location of a kitchen supply shop that used to be near us, but recently moved. They had a normal sort of retail store before, but now they’ve moved to an industrial area and are operating out of a warehouse. It was hard to find – I walked past the building twice looking for any signs, but saw none, then finally had to go knock on a door and ask the woman who came to answer it. When I said I was looking for Kitchen Kapers, she directed me to walk around to the back of the building, through the car park, where I found the place with a giant open garage door and no signage whatsoever. I had to confirm with a guy that they were open for retail sales, which they were. Given my recent experiences with shops in industrial areas, this was relatively positive. I didn’t end up buying anything though.
This afternoon I drove across town to pick up some super cheap second hand golf clubs that I won on eBay. Andrew C. has been suggesting I move up from playing a “pitch and putt” course to a full length golf course. I’m keen to try, but needed some clubs suitable for a beginner without a job. The ones I picked up have seen some heavy use, but should do the trick. We’re planning to go play a round of the short course on Friday, followed by some driving practice at the range next door, so I can start to get a feel for hitting with more power.
New content today: