Thursday, August 27, 2009

Unique, Unprecedented, Unrepeatable

Room 122.

One year ago, my school was hailed as one of America's 100 best. This past week, it was the site of a frightening attack by a former student. I'm taking a year's leave and wasn't there but I know that as the community makes sense of what happened, teachers, students, and families will continue to place kids' emotional well-being and needs at the center of attention.

Xavier, Ali, Julio, Matey, Haruka, Hatibe, Karl.

Teaching high school language development classes and advising a cohort of 25 students is without a doubt the hardest, most intellectually demanding, physically exhausting work I've ever done. Fifty hour weeks aren't unheard of and for all of my experience in education and leadership, the work does truly unfold one day at a time.

My fortress of solitude in a classroom that never sleeps.

Maria and Gabi.

Fourth period Transitional ELD.

I was a decent student who hated school but in the wake of Columbine, I found a community that supported kids with as they were, not how teachers imagined them to be. It wasn't easy for me to make the transition into education and I stumbled more often than I excelled, but with an incredible network of mentors and support, I've come find my calling. 

Golden Apple Award.

The challenges of education reform in America are enormous. Working to undo the legacies of institutional racism and structures that perpetuate social inequality for students of color is daunting. These past five years I've found a home in Hillsdale's smaller learning communities and look forward to returning in a year to continue the work we've begun. 

Learning to learn. Periods 2 and 3, Intermediate ELD, in front of 'Speak Memory', Fall 2008.

'Speak Memory' memorial project, fall 2008.

Afghans for Tomorrow students, Afghanistan.

Related projects:
Hillsdale Effect (micro-lending in Guatemala)
New York Times article on education and immigration and my students' responses.
Jakarta and Cusco House Kite Festival

After this mountain, more mountains...

1 comment:

latchkey said...

I'm a teacher over at Capuchino. Stumbled upon your blog on the mid-90s page on the facebook. Had a blast trolling through your blog -- loved the old footage of N.O.U. & old flyers especially.

Good to see there's a kindred spirit in the district. Are you still at Hillsdale?