My students from Utah surprise me and inspire each other: They thank me each day before they leave class even though I just gave them homework, and my favorite part of being their teacher is when they struggle to understand a concept and, after a long struggle, finally master it. The pride they feel in having made it through their trek is inspiring and worth the work it took us to get there. In addition to their resilience, their eagerness to learn is seen in the interesting and original ideas they generate in our discussions and writing.
Possibly the most incredible characteristic of my students is their willingness to lift each other up during the learning process: when a student has been absent for more than a day or two, the students contact him or her to make sure they are okay.
I've never seen another group of kids so willing to care about others.
These books will expose my students to the reality of poverty and the opportunity we have to do what we can to help others. Specifically, the novel contains the story of a teenage girl in the United States who becomes pen pals with a boy in Zimbabwe. The boy's life is eye opening to the demographic I'm teaching, and the lengths the girl and her family go to to help him are inspiring and motivating. The goal of this unit is for students to understand the complexities of poverty as well as to design and carry out a plan to help someone socially, mentally, emotionally, academically, or physically.
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