I have reversed roles this week and sit here right now watching my students teach. They eagerly signed up and prepared something to share with their peers. Some of their lessons have taught us to dance, play charades, and complete an online crossword puzzle. Still others reviewed Math and English, and others simply have presented information on a topic of interest to them. Some lessons were highly involved and others borrowed from the Internet. They have proudly stood at the front of the room and echoed many of the phrases that I use daily. As I smile and think that at least they have learned something; I can't help but think about everything that they don't know.
They don't understand that a free lunch isn't really free. They have never considered that the free education guaranteed to them is such a privilege. They don't understand that a birthday does not always guarantee that cupcakes will magically appear. Or that next year the free field trips that they have always taken for granted may not be available. Their sixth grade teacher might not have an endless supply of pencils, paper, pens, folders, notebooks, and patience. I hope they value the time they spend at school and don't just consider it a mid-day meeting place of friends.
In ten years, they will be paying for their education, or earning their lunch, or some of them, likely will be taking care of someone who is sitting in a classroom thinking about the end of the year.