Hunger Games as a Force for Good

I earn my benjamins as a teacher. This week kicks off the massive load of state and district testing. It’s our Super Bowl. Our World Series. And, I think, possibly our Hunger Games.

The kids always stress during this time. I work with eleven and twelve-year-olds. Some still bring stuffed animals to school this week to lower their anxiety. I typically purchase candy and little goodies to pass out during testing. Tiny ways to boost their moral. Yet this year, I stumbled onto what I think is a brilliant idea.

The idea sprouted last week when the students were completing our end of unit exams. One boy was terribly sick and miserable the whole morning. I busied myself putting up a hand drawn Finn and Jake picture from Adventure Time, and (because so many kids have read the books) a giant mockingjay. Underneath I penned: “May the odd be ever in your favor.” By recess, the boy had a smile on his face. I asked him about it and he said that Katniss had struggled and not given up. He knew that he could do the same.

That did it. I decided to go whole hog on the Hunger Games theme. Cause that’s essentially what we do to the kids. The Capital (State of California) requires tributes (students) to battle for their entertainment (bubble in multiple choice questions). The same pressure the tributes in the books feel, my students get in spades. There are even careers. You know the kids. The ones that adore testing and always seem to come out on top.

This year, instead of just walking around to give kids treats, I purchased some silver tissue paper. I’m wrapping the treats in aluminum foil. Then their sponsor (me) will drop the silver parachutes on their desks when they need it the most. I’m hoping to put in little notes (like the ones Haymitch delivered) to help inspire the kids.

I certainly hope the testing doesn’t end with most of the kids deceased and two holding poisoned berries.

Tim Kane