There is nothing so sinister as ignoring the wealth of voices around us: the ones that could make us laugh if we only knew the language, the ones that could make us think if we only had the time, and the ones that could make us learn if we only opened up our ears long enough to take in something new. It is true that the very purpose of our community is to hear each others’ true voices and learn something from them, but up until now we have only included voices from the classroom. No matter how outlandish your fiction may be or how much you talk about sports, you are still writing from a middle school perspective.
I happen to love the middle school perspective. It is so creative and thought provoking. It is the reason why I never plan on teaching at a high school. Yet, the middle school perspective has its limitations. I’m sure that I don’t need to enumerate them, but suffice it to say that even though I thought I knew everything when I was in the 8th grade, I actually didn’t. So, where do we get other perspectives? Well, we read good books, and we read interesting magazines. We watch terrible news channels, and we experience obnoxious movies. These pieces of entertainment, whether good or bad, all provide non-middle school perspectives, but there is only one problem with them: they weren’t written or performed just for us. All of the other perspectives in our lives are highly impersonal. Sure, we can relate to the characters in a book or we can understand that a news story will affect us personally, but they weren’t prepared in the same way that we prepare our Weekly Authentcs for one another each week. They weren’t prepared with just us in mind.
So, in order to correct this, in order to ensure that other perspectives drectly address us in the way that we address each other, I am introducing Guest Blogging into our community.
Each week, I will ask a group of “Adults” one question that you have voted on and at least one of them will respond in a blog post. You won’t know all of the people that I ask, and you won’t know who will answer. You will know, however, that each response from these other perspectives is just as authentic and sincere as the posts that we write each week.
I’m willing to bet that at this point you have at least two questions (although, you may have a heck of a lot more).
1. Who gets to be in this panel of “Adults?”
Well, anyone who wants to be. I will be asking parents, other teachers, administrators, professional bloggers, professional authors, and others to be asked the first batch of questions.
2. What kind of questions can we ask?
Pretty much anything that will get someone to tell a story, relive a memory, or relay some information. Things like, “What was the worst trouble that you ever got into, and what did you learn from it?” or “How did you deal with making friends in Middle School?” or “Is homework really important or are you just saying that so we don’t watch more TV?”
These guest bloggers are here for us to gain insight that we wouldn’t normally find. They are here so that we can listen to all of the voices around us, not just the ones that are standing in the front of the classroom or sitting in the back. We must use these voices, commenting on them and building upon them for these are the voices of our greater community, and to ignore them is to ignore the laughter, thought, and learning that comes along with them.