Recently the school I first taught at as a young 23 year old girl was featured on the news. Sadly, the news story was related to a shooting on/near the property. Every ticker and news report named the school, the community and replayed the tragic event. This was not the first time this family of schools was highlighted for violence in the community.
At the same time I have been helping to prepare and present a workshop for fellow teacher librarians looking at social justice through the lens of poverty and class. We asked the group to consider the bias against families living in poverty and our own assumptions about class as it relates to our teaching practice.
The timing of the two experiences are weighing heavily on my heart & mind tonight.
I still feel incredibly connected to that first school. I learned so much in my short time there. The biggest lesson was that the families I worked with wanted the best for their children and were working night and day to make their lives and the lives of their children better. I found myself tearful when I saw that latest news report. I wanted to interrupt every report and tell the world about the hard-working, giving, generous and knowledgable families I met so many years ago.
So… guided by the pedagogical theory of Paul C. Gorski for our workshop preparation, I am asking myself to deepen my understanding of, speak up louder about and question more often the systemic barriers to education faced by our families challenged by poverty and judged by class.
I challenge you to do the same.