This is for every teacher who refuses to be blamed for the failure of our society to erase poverty and inequality, and refuses to accept assessments, tests and evaluations imposed by those who have contempt for real teaching and learning.
I spent some time inside the heads of some of my students this evening. Every Tuesday I collect reflection journals from half of my seniors and (with the help of a 5 hour energy shot lol) stay in my classroom until I'm done reading and responding. And because I put in the time and dialogue with them in writing...
They tell me everything.
They love their grandparents. (Omg how they love their grandparents.) They miss their grandparents. They cry because it was their "last night under the lights." They complain because the athletes get all the attention. They worry they'll lose their friends. They worry they'll keep some of them. They love some of their teachers. They wonder how others are still in the classroom.
All my seniors are scared. Just yesterday, they were freshmen. They miss their childhoods. They miss their dogs. They are wrestling with depression. They are exhausted. They are strong. They are angry. They're afraid of failing. They're afraid of succeeding. They wonder why their fathers are asses. They're hurt and angry because their mothers have drug problems. They tell me their parents are the most important people in their lives and thank them and thank them and thank them.They tell me about their first taste of death and the birth of their nephews and nieces. The freedom of driving. Their heartbreaks and the love they apologize for because they're "young" and don't know what love is when they really do. Or really don't.
Alone, with their voices in my head, the shy, quiet ones are not shy and quiet. The rowdy ones are soft and reserved.
Every Tuesday I am awed and humbled and I stay in my room until I'm done because that's what they expect from me now and that's the only way they will write and write and write to me as if I were a priest.
And every page I read reminds me why we do what we do. No one who hasn't can ever understand