EducationPop Quiz

Pop Quiz: Let’s Do The Time Warp

Today was Time Capsule day for one of my classes. I have a “Form Class”, which is our equivalent of the US “Homeroom”. This short 15 minute period happens at the start of every day and is designed to take care of things like illness absence notes, general school announcements and so on. We have an interesting system where a teacher keeps the same Form Class for the entire time that class is at school. My current form class consists of a group of Sixth Year pupils; the oldest year in the school. This means that I’ve seen them every morning since they started high school in 2008.

Way back in 2008, when the members of this class were scared little 11 and 12 year olds, I asked them to write letters to their future selves. They wrote about how they had found the move to high school, about their friends, and about anything else they wanted to. The original plan was to bag up the letters and read them again at the end of their first year of high school.

However, our entire school moved to a brand new building towards the end of that year and I lost the letters in the chaos of the move. I wrote them off as being gone forever, until I found them in a somewhat dusty plastic wallet in my mum’s garage last night.

This morning I handed the letters back out and we spent today’s Form Class period reading over them and reminiscing. It was amusing to see what some of them had written about way back then, to see how much they’ve changed. Some of the pupils who had written letters had left school between 2008 and now, and we were able to revisit memories of what the class used to be like.

It wasn’t all laugher and hilarity, however. Some of the pupils seemed to be quite moved after reading their letter. For some of them, seeing the hopes and ambitions of their young selves and comparing those hopes and ambitions to where they were now was quite an eye-opener. Some of them had fallen out dramatically with the people they listed as “best friends” in their letter. Some of them had massively changed their life plans – unsurprisingly perhaps, since they were 11 when they wrote the letters.

Overall, it was a lovely experience and I’m really glad that the letters went missing for so long. Being able to give a group of young adults such a vivid window into their past was a really interesting and surprisingly emotional experience.

For today’s Pop Quiz, I wanted to ask whether any of you have ever tried something similar with a class (accidentally or deliberately), or whether you’ve ever experienced something like this yourself.

If you’re an educator, have you ever participated in a “time capsule” task like this? Perhaps with letters, or maybe even with a real capsule with objects in it?

Have you ever had the experience that my pupils had today? If so, how did it make you feel? Was it strange? Beneficial? Upsetting?

The Pop Quiz is a question posed to you, the Scholars of Doubt. Look for it on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 3pm ET.

Featured Image Credit: kevinzim

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Alasdair

Alasdair

Alasdair is a high school English teacher in Scotland. He's a passionate skeptic and science fan, which is why he runs a discussion club for young skeptics in his school. He loves space and astronomy more than pretty much anything and is studying for a physics degree in his spare time in order to become qualified to teach science.

He lives with a cat made of distilled hatred and spikes.

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