A Blubbering Fool...Teaching at it's finest

I have been using the last few nights to get back on the blogging bandwagon, something I did a few years ago with amazing regularity. I found a great blogging suggestion list from #TeachThought and launched onto the last few nights topics that were suggested. I was ready to continue on the path until today...Now I am thinking that there might be something more than how I want to be evaluated, what the most difficult obstacle might be and so on...I think that it is the beginning of the new year and I am feeling the passion...to the point that I spend much of my driving time with tears in my eyes and ears to podcasts.

Before I go on much more, I want to put a bit of a disclaimer in here about Podcasts. I realize it is the 21st Century and all, but Podcasts aren't really an area where I had delved...until this summer. Last fall, when all my friends were listening to Serial, I was blissfully unaware of what all the hubbub was. This summer I began listening and was immediately hooked. I power listened on my way to Chicago for a conference, hushing my coworkers when we got there because I still had one more episode or two to finish. Once Serial was done, then I moved on to Undisclosed, which follows the happenings of Serial. Finally, it was time to move on. I happened to open This American Life a few days ago and the top two Podcasts in my feed were The Problem We All Live With Pt. 1 and then The Problem We All Live With Pt. 2

The last few days my friend, Clair,  has been staying with me while we finish up work for the impending school year. She is a young and passionate teacher and our work together has been amazing. We have done some traveling in the car and were listening to the second part together. I had already listened to Part 1 on my own and, even though I had listened to half of part two, I rewound to the beginning so she could hear.

The entirety of the two are talking about the state of education and how, frankly despite all the work that has been done, education is still failing many of our students, especially those of color. To hear that one main thing, something that is not being discussed (hint: integration) is the one thing that has lessened the achievement gap  is very sad. As a white woman, some might say that I can't understand and, since I am not of color, I would agree on that front, but it also talks of children in poverty, first of which I was one and secondly, I definitely teach there.

To hear that the one thing (hint: integration) that has really made a different not even being on the table makes me cry. Hearing white families speak so poorly of families in color on the the Podcast literally made me weep. These conversations, or rather lack of productive ones, could be happening here in the Portland area. If my students, the poor and immigrant ones, were given the opportunity to attend a primarily white district across town, chaos would ensue. Parents would be protesting, whether loudly or silently, to keep my students away. This was breaking my heart.

I feel like we are missing the boat. Don't get me wrong, there are some good things happening in my district, but to say that we have far to go is a dramatic understatement. Our students are not being given the same opportunities as their wealthier, white counterparts. We have bathroom stalls without doors and leaking toilets. We are remediating our students to death. We are building, inadvertently, a set of schools that tell our students they aren't worthy of the same opportunities as others nearby. Don't get me wrong, there are some incredible teachers where I work, but, frankly, we aren't given the opportunity to really provide many of our students, and I mean our students of color, with a real shot at an AP class or another enrichment opportunity.

My students...I love them. I want them to have access to the world. I want them to believe that not only is education the key to their future, but I'm going to be standing by the door where the lock is located. I know that I am not alone...there is a group of us that is committed to helping our students move forward, but I also know that students in poverty who are constantly educated with those who are in poverty struggle to make sense of things...It is a hard path.

Tomorrow I will finish part 2 of  This American Life, and I expect I will get the eye leakage I have been getting...I am a blubbering fool...I think of my students smiley faces and I want to get angry at those who see them as less simply because of their zip code. These conversations need to be happening...I am on a mission now...

All students academic lives matter and each experience is important. This is even a more powerful reason why I teach where I do, but frankly, we need to do more. I am up for the challenge and, even better, I am ready to call these things to attention.

This is important and frankly, I need to be heard! Until tomorrow...



Comments

  1. I am honored to follow your thoughts on this blog. Thanks for including me on your journey. You give me things to ponder and act upon.

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