The question I ponder as I witness what we can still do that is good for kids in the face of the corporate reform juggernaut: if we make it less bad, do we enable the system to continue? Do the teachers who still do deep creative projects with their students make it possible for us to say—‘oh look good things can still happen.’ This leaves the responsibility with teachers to find cracks in spite of the system.
I am not sure what is the right course for the big picture yet I am sure that in order to survive, to maintain our own morale and spirit, we have to take actions wherever we can.
I choose from these calls to action — one thing I can translate each day into action that will make even a small difference somewhere for children and the people who care for them in our school buildings.
With thanks to ‘Diversity, Multicultural & Social Justice Quotations”
“An ally need not own the land he helps.” Euripides (Greek playwright, 480-405 B.C.) To be a better ally, I will sit in a classroom for one entire period trying to see through the eyes of one child in the classroom who is different from my skin, language, gender.
“Some things you must always be unable to bear. Some things you must never stop refusing to bear. Injustice and outrage and dishonor and shame. No matter how young you are or how old you have got. Not for kudos and not for cash, your picture in the paper nor money in the bank, neither. Just refuse to bear them.” William Faulkner (U.S. novelist, 1897-1962) I will not stop talking with friends and community members about what I am seeing in our schools—even if they look at me with skepticism, even if they don’t agree with me. I will not try to bear it anymore.
“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms–to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Victor Frankl (Austrian psychiatrist and author, 1905-1997) I will bring notes to teachers with evidence of the qualities of their teaching and of their students’ learning.
“Before healing others, heal yourself.” Gambia Proverb Each time, I notice my tendency toward discouragement and despair, I will force my eyes to look up at the horizon with a longer view, a wider lens on our ongoing efforts to work for the good of our kids and world.
“A teacher who can arouse a feeling for one single good action, for one single good poem, accomplishes more than he who fills our memory with rows and rows of natural objects, classified with name and form.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (German poet and playwright, 1749-1832) I will share resources with teachers even if I am not officially working with them–poems to inspire and enlighten, quotes strategically offered, stories of good work, deeds, ideas.