To set the tone for the school year right, I started off by asking my students to write a two paragraph response to the prompt: what would you do if you had a magic wand?
At first, my new sixth graders found it amusing. But I don’t have a magic wand, one said. I’m not a magician, another added. Do you mean real magic, a girl wondered. So I said to them: think about all the problems in the world. Imagine you had the power to change a thing, what would it be?
I got so many ‘hmms’ and tapping of pens and some, ‘but I don’t have any problems, I’m fine’ while I tried to show them how one person’s problem can affect the other.
The kids wore their thinking hats and wielding an imaginary power, they set out writing their essays. Some of their wishes include:
‘If I had a magic wand, I’d change the way the world sees people with disabilities.’
‘If I had a magic wand, I would remove world hunger, give kids a chance to go to school and stop Boko Haram because kids should have the rights to go to school.’
‘If I had a magic wand, I would change bad houses into beautiful houses. I would give poor people money to buy new homes.’
‘I would help people have access to clean water because many people who drink that contaminated water can get sick and have many diseases and sometimes, they can’t get to a doctor. They can die and the cycle begins again and again and again.’
‘I would make everyone have a nice home, a good paid job and a happy life. Every homeless dog and cat will have a loving family. There would be no evil. No ISIS, Boko Haram, any terrorists.’
‘I would make bad leaders (Kim Jong Fat, Donald Trump, Buhari) better like reset their minds to better states. Also, there would be no hate, wars and conflict against countries.’
‘I would like more libraries that are accessible for everyone so that we can all learn more about the real world. I’ll use my magic wand again so that there will be more public schools for people who can’t afford private school. A lot of people who have money problems rely on public schools for their children’s education. With libraries and schools, everybody will then have the right to education.’
It’s always interesting getting into the heads of kids and seeing what goes on in there and I’m happy that they were able to connect to the sad realities around them. What would you do if you had a magic wand?