In third grade we read a story called Make Way for Duckings by Robert McCloskey. MWFD is the story of the Mallard family. The Mallards are trying to find a safe place to raise their babies in the Public Garden in Boston. A friendly policeman named Michael stops traffic to help the family cross the busy city street. The big lesson I teach my class about this story is that people have a responsiblity to protect wildlife.
Recently I have been thinking about a different part of the story.
Once the Mallards find a suitable home, Mr. Mallard takes a weeklong trip up the river leaving Mrs. Mallard on her own with their eight ducklings. During this time, Mrs Mallard teaches her babies all about life. The ducklings learned to swim, come when they are called and walk in a single file line.
Essentially Mrs. Mallard taught her ducklings how to be ducks.
My students are very much like the ducklings in the story.
They watch their parents’ every move and learn how to be in the world. Even when it seems like they aren’t paying attention, they are.
They come to school and tell me that your family has moved into an apartment because your mortgage got too expensive. They also tell me when you’ve been arguing with your spouse. And they even tell me when you are in jail.
It makes me sad that my students and their families are having a rough go of it.