The Questions of Children

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My heart is heavy today after the conversations I was forced to have with the children I teach. I teach in a low-income, racially diverse elementary school just across the border to a large city. My students have various learning disabilities, but they are astute and curious about the world around them.

On Monday, we held a mock election and the children were very excited to be a part of the election hooplah. Many voted for one candidate or the other for childlike reasons…”She’s a girl”, “I like the boy”, “She has a blue jacket on and I like blue.” Others voted based on what they have heard their parents saying. A few voted their own conscience, against how they knew their parents were voting.

As always happens during an election year, my students ask me who I plan to vote for. Of course, I maintain neutrality and tell them that voting is a secret process and you do not need to share your vote with anyone. I never ask who they voted for. This year, their questioning was more insistent and had a greater purpose.

They were attempting to figure out what their place would be in Trump’s America. They were carefully watching the television and they were scared by what they saw. To a child, all of my students confided in me that they did not like Donald Trump and that he scared them. More

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Proud to Be a Failing Teacher

I beg your indulgence and forgiveness as I step away from my usual topics and post about my other life…my passion for teaching.

Teaching has not been a fun place to be in recent years.  Don’t get me wrong…I love it and truly cannot imagine doing anything else with my life.  But the public narrative has become one that vilifies all teachers and makes us out to be incompetent, greedy, lazy, and almost criminally negligent.  I hope that most of you know this cannot be farther from the truth.

In this video, Joshua Katz eloquently gives voice to the frustration that I hear every day in the teachers’ lounge.  Frustration that America has handed our public schools over to testing companies and for-profit charter schools while simultaneously attempting to completely sweep the far-reaching effects of poverty under the rug.  Poverty is too vast a problem, too fearsome to overcome. Blaming the teachers is all too easy.

I teach one block north of the border of one of the poorest cities in the nation. 100% of the students in my school receive free or reduced lunch.  Poverty is part of the daily routine of my life.  I am knee-deep in it every day and I see its realities, not the “welfare queen” myth of poverty that abounds among my suburban, middle class neighbors.

My school is a failing school.  By virtue of working there, I am a failing teacher. I must be incompetent, sayeth the pundits. More

Bursting With Pride!

What an amazing end to a stressful week!

My week consisted of meeting after meeting, due dates for huge referral packets for school and term projects for the class I am taking, all topped off by my fun-filled jury duty experience.  It’s been longer than long.

But today I watched my son process into the auditorium where he last sat as an incoming freshman during the Opening Convocation at his college.  He sang his last song as part of his college choir.  And then he walked across the stage, shook hands with his college President, and received his Bachelor of Science degree.  Two degrees, actually…one just wasn’t enough for him!

Summa Cum Laude.

Phi Beta Kappa.

There were bagpipes, people!

His four years of college have taken him to France, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.  He has learned to speak a foreign language fluently, navigate a foreign country on his own, solve unbelievably challenging mathematical equations, and discuss string theory with brilliant physicists.  It’s been quite a ride.  I still cannot believe this is the tiny 6 pound boy that I brought gingerly home from the hospital 21 years ago.  I was afraid he would break, he was so small.  And now look at all that he has accomplished.

I love him dearly, and I have never been more proud of him!

And now for something completely different….

Even we serious bloggers who try to tackle difficult subjects need a bit of a break.

Many of you know that I am a teacher, and some of my followers are teachers too.  I stumbled upon a wonderful blog by a cartoonist/teacher named Matt Gajdoš, AKA Mr. G.  He is wonderfully funny and draws about the cute little moments that are found in every school day.

A few days ago, Matt posted this cute comic about the end of the first day of kindergarten.  I taught kindergarten for 12 years, so it struck home and made me chuckle.  I commented that he should write about the beginning of that first day…which is typically filled with crying kids, crying parents, and repeated requests to go home or eat lunch.  It’s a fun-filled, exhausting, zoo of a day.

Well, Matt took on my challenge!  I was delighted to see this post in my inbox.  Matt tries to capture those first moments in all their chaos and glory!  Thanks so much Mr. G.!  Surf around his site and check out all of the other great comics.

Even if you’re not a teacher, if you have kids you can relate to this.  Welcome to my world, and thanks for joining me along the way.

Enjoy!

Aimee

Help Out a Fellow Survivor

Hi there! Today, I have a quick plug and a request. We all have to stand together in this mess. This young woman has made a video to get a scholarship to help her in her schooling. She would like to use her degree to help survivors of rape and sexual abuse. What a great career goal! I had scholarships all through college.  Both of my sons are enjoying large scholarships.  As a parent, I cannot tell you what a Godsend this money is.  A private college can cost over $40,000 a year.  A year!!  And public universities aren’t that far behind.  My youngest son’s “cheap” public university is going to cost almost $20,000 each year.  Follow the link and vote for her video. Let’s give her a hand and help our fellow survivors in the process.

Scholarship Video for Lindsey

(I had to “like” the page on Facebook in order to see it.  You will need a Facebook account to vote, I would imagine)

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