The School District didn't give us the head's up on the Very Important Speech By The President until late Friday - most likely because they were trying to figure out how to handle the parents who wanted their kids to opt out. An ed-connect phone call went out to the parents to let them know that kids could show up with a note from the folks if they didn't want them to watch it. We simply had to send them to another classroom with some seat work to keep them busy.
The reaction from most of the teachers was "How in the hell am I supposed to hit all my standards before the Very Big Deal Government Mandated Test if they keep interrupting my teaching time?" Many of us, myself included, teach bell to bell and didn't get enough notice (our plans were already done and submitted) to change our lesson plans to accommodate The Speech. Crap. Fortunately I was able to cram most of my lesson in, but with a little less discussion, and the kids didn't get too far behind. Hopefully.
I read The Speech the day before and the first thing that crossed my mind was "Whomever wrote this has no clue about the attention span of kids younger than high school."
No clue at all.
I could not, even on a good day, imagine any elementary kids sitting still for that long of a speech. Hell, even my seventh graders were going to be hard pressed to sit still that long.
Keep in mind that I've often believed that unless it has death, destruction or explosions, most seventh graders could care less. This is why they love tornado, earthquake, hurricane and volcano videos and can watch them ALL DAY LONG. However, someone just talking at them BORES THEM TO TEARS.
Their first big concern today was lunch. They had heard that the speech was going to be at 11:00 am and those that have figured out our bell schedule (honestly some never do) figured out that that was during lunch. So, of course, the rumor flew that they were not going to get to eat lunch. AT ALL.
Oh good gracious. They were in an absolute panic during homeroom until they finally stopped whining long enough to hear me tell them that they would have lunch at THE NORMAL TIME and would watch the speech on videotape later in the day.
That was about the most interest the kids showed all day towards The Speech. They were more interested in the fact that we were having thunderstorms all day ("Do you think we'll have a tornado?? Uh, do you?") than the fact that The President was going to tell them the Very Same Things Mom and Dad and All The Teachers Tell Us OVER AND OVER AND OVER.
The fidgeted. They stared at the ceiling. They yawned. One wanted to go to the bathroom. Two had their heads bob a bit until I tapped them on the shoulder to wake them up. Most simply looked bored.
Just another grown up telling us what to do...
They could have cared less.
And considering that the class that watched this, my sixth period, has NO ONE passing as of right now, it was a tad ironic.
Another thing to note...last year we saw Obama t-shirts all over the place. The kids wore them to school all the time. I haven't seen a single one this year. Not one.