The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Eve Rifkin Uncategorized

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It is 3:03.

Most of the students have left. Some are still hanging around waiting for rides, talking with friends, or looking for teachers before they head out for Thanksgiving break.

Today is the day that I call "the most wonderful time of the year" at City High School. For the past several weeks, the sophomore American Studies class has been studying colonial America and, most recently, has been trying to understand and debunk some of the myths that surround our Thanksgiving holiday. They read primary source documents, compare film to history, and work on their skills of critical thinking and analysis.

They also make 100 pumpkin pies, roast several turkeys, and pick turnip greens from our community garden to prepare a Thanksgiving feast for the entire school (students, staff, alumni, and a handful of family members).

Each year on the Tuesday before our holiday break, we sit down as a whole school to reflect on what we are thankful for and eat a delicious meal prepared by the sophomore class. The hours leading up to this meal are hectic. The space committee is busy moving tables and chairs. The decorations committee is putting the final touches on the table centerpieces. The student chefs cut the pies and bring out the chafing dishes. They work together in small teams to serve the school community each year. And each year, the food seems more outstanding than the year before.

Most of the things the kids do today will not be tested on next year's AIMS tests. And the extreme multitasking that the teacher does is not apparent on the new standards of professional practice.

That's because what they are doing is magic, and can't really be measured by a test or a rubric.

So this afternoon I am grateful for my full belly, for the incredible hard work of my students and colleagues, and for my magical school community.

 

Eve Rifkin

Tucson, Arizona

I have been an educator for over 20 years. As a founding co-director of City High School, I have held a variety of leadership and teaching roles, including academic director, humanities teacher, and principal. I am currently the Director of College Access and support students as they envision their lives after high school.

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