I awoke this morning to a Facebook message from a former student, now a sheriff in Texas. He saw the police shooting images from El Cajon on the national media, and wanted to ask me to stay safe. I was touched he thought of me, and sad that he had to.
Tonight I am following my Twitter feed, noting the protests are happening blocks from my former campus. I worry about the safety of my students, and tomorrow I worry about the safety of the teachers, staff, and those living in the media, crowd filled blocks near campus. Another shooting, another protest, more angry words, marching, some violence, no answers. It is becoming repetitive. Many are becoming cynical. Me? I’m becoming more determined than ever to empower kids to use reflection, research, and words.
We could live in a dark place. We could demand retribution, we could point fingers, we could pass blame before knowing all the facts. We could take advantage of the situation and end up on television, or take out our anger on strangers. We could let our assumptions grow, and our patience wear thin. Or, we can empower kids. That’s what I do, I empower kids.
I have been at HSMS for a little over a month. I work with some amazing staff and students and it is exciting to be there. I have spent the first couple of weeks getting to know my kids, and although we are at the baby steps of a growing relationship, this latest writing project is proving my mantra to be true, student choice inspires student voice. I know to be true about all kids, is that if you ask them to take on real questions, with real purpose, with a real audience they will rise to the challenge and exceed your expectations.
I am teaching humanities, and although teaching US History usually means starting with the founding fathers, this year, it starts with studying civics and government. We are participating in Letters to the Future President, a partnership with NWP and KQED. Students from all over the country have the opportunity to write argument pieces and post them to a common site. Next week I will be traveling to UCLA to participate in the Lead2Learn conference. We will be sharing our election work, the plans CWP has for National Day on Writing, and the partnership with KQED.
- What is the issue that demands your attention?
- Why is it important to you?
- What do you want the candidates to do, and what are you willing to do to help solve the problem?
Stay tuned as we document this work, and remind the electorate, we are watching.