when a school closes…

Schools-doors-photos-021When a school closes the first thing that is mentioned are the politics behind it. Everything is always about politics.

When a school closes the next thing that is mentioned are the jobs. What about the teachers? What about that great janitor that has given everything to make sure the school building is the best it can be? What about the lunch ladies?

When a school closes fingers are pointed. The State is blamed. Education reform is blamed. “They don’t know our school….our situation…our community…they just don’t understand”

When  a school closes the questions arise about the students. “Where will they go? Where can they go?”

The last thing that it thought of when a school closes, is the impact. The impact this will have on the community. The impact this will have on the students. The impact this will have on the future, their futures.

You see, you can’t just close a school (especially an inner city school) without it going unnoticed. Regardless of your opinion, the “proficiency”, or performance of that school; that school kept kids off the streets. That school was a safe haven. That school opened opportunities. That school offered an education. That school offered hope to the broken. That school mattered. 

Not all schools need to be saved or can be saved. But whatever happens, our kids need to be given the chance and know that they are not being given up on.

heart pngit all stacks up

He who opens a school door, closes a prison. 
Victor Hugo

A letter to my dreamers.

IMG_20160609_182300To My Dear Students, 

As I close the chapter on my first year of teaching I can’t help but thank you.

Thank you for accepting me on week three of the school year, when you were already beginning to like your original teacher.

Thank you for pushing me to become a better version of myself, both for you and for me. I am stronger because of you.

Thank you for challenging me and making me a better educator. I feel I am ready for all of it now.

Thank you for loving me, even if you didn’t show it most days. Reading your end of the year evaluations of our class me made me tear up.

…and thank you for changing me. You truly have. I have changed as a teacher, and as a individual.

Because of you, I have been opened to the true inequalities and unfairness of the world. I grew up in a seemingly opposite world from you, and seeing your struggles breaks my heart. Along with those struggles though, comes the true power of education.

Cherish your education, value your education, use your education. Chase your dreams and make them happen. Don’t let the world say you can’t. You can.

As this year comes to a close, remember I love you. You will forever be part of my heart. I am proud of you, so many of you have came so far. I want you to be successful. You are more than students to me, you are my kids.

With love,

your history teacher

it all stacks up

The future belongs to those that believe in the beauty of their dreams. 
Eleanor Roosevelt

pause & reflect

Here we go.

With only 3 days before closing the book on my first year of teaching I am having a hard time fully taking the entire year in. I have tried to pause and reflect on the whole year multiple times this past week. Every time I quickly find something else to occupy my mind in fear of crying and having a full emotion break down.

This school year was a rough one. I knew it would be rough.

They tell you that all your years in college, hoping to prepare you for all of the “adultness” that will suddenly be thrown at you as soon as you walk into your classroom for the first time. In reality nothing can prepare you for that moment, that moment when you are the most adult-y person in the room, regardless how much of an “adult” your students think they are, or actually may be, or how close they might be to you in age.

Even though it was rough. I learned a lot. Here are just a few.

  1. I am stronger than I ever imagined I was.
  2. The power of education in everyday life is more powerful that I ever realized. Working in an urban school in a struggling community made this so, so obvious.
  3. My students are more than my students, they are my kids. Each and everyone of them has a piece of my heart. I love them.
  4. Teaching in an under-performing urban school is not for the weak. If you hold on for the ride, it will change your life forever.
  5. Life isn’t fair. I know I said this all the time growing up, but for real, life isn’t fair. The lives my students have been handed isn’t fair.
  6. God is amazing. He’s not done with me yet. He’s putting me through these trials to prepare me for even better.
  7. I can survive on 4 hours of sleep.

There is so much more that I can’t even articulate into words right now.

Regardless of what you did this school year, whether you are a new teacher, a veteran teacher, “just” a teacher, or a student; take time to pause and reflect. Amazing things happened this year. Students learned and grew, you learned and grew.

Stay tuned as I continue to decompress this first school year.

Love and hugs,

it all stacks up

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.
Harriet Tubman