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edu180atl: rhett smith 10.31.11

October 31st. You either love it or you hate it. The stress of finding a costume to wear that falls under the categories of both clever and professional is simply too much for many teachers to bear. Therefore, as part of the “Dressing up is not anxiety inducing- I enjoy it” teachers at my school, it was never a question of IF I would wear a costume, but rather HOW was I going to top last year?

For this reason, I was surprised to find myself disoriented and lost in my closet this morning, actually pondering IF I was going to dress up.

In 5th grade, one strategy we teach our students to analyze a major character is to take note of when she behaves “out of character.”

With enthusiasm, delight, and maybe even some carefree humming, I decided my “costume” would be jeans, wallabees, a fleece pullover, and a “Little Miss Spooky” t-shirt.

This is when I would say, “5th Graders, take note! What do we already know about this character that could explain why she is behaving this way?”

I would remind them to focus on what happened to the character right before the “unusual behavior.” Someone remembers that she had already celebrated Halloween twice that weekend, pretending to be the “Leader of the Pack” in black leather, and also Miss America in constricting sequins.

“Dig deeper,” I would say. Then, another someone, barely audible, “It is just exhausting trying to be someone else. After a while, all you want to be is yourself.”

BINGO.

Rhett Smith is a 5th grade teacher at The Atlanta Academy in Roswell, GA. She enjoys many things, such as the “Just Dance” truck that comes to Fall Fest at school, making things happen, being in skits, taking pictures, ALTA, playing with technology, telling other people what to wear, and reading the Huffington Post. There is “room to grow” in many areas of her life.

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