Needless to say, things at school can get, well, er, rough. After a particularly bad end to week three, I took a day off to catch up. The resulting grading day finally gave me a chance to read my World History Assignment #1: The History of Your Life in a Paragraph. Here is the email that I wrote to the staff.
just felt compelled to report:
one of the first assignments in world history was to attempt to write your entire life story in a paragraph, as a challenge to understand how telling the history of the world can be at times be a silly and impossible task.
reading and responding to the paragraphs now (finally) has opened up my eyes, once again, to the incredible stories that our youth have to tell, stories that can only come from their voices in this specific time and place. It is both fortunate and intimidating that our task is to guide these young folks to the portals of their own minds and hearts.
so as school gets tougher, and we sweat and struggle and curse in between what can feel like breathless days, remember that it is OUR students who write something like this:
"Born from a small town in Mexico, and immigrating to the United States--California, to be exact--was not easy. Adapting to the laws, languages, and people was not a piece of cake. I'm the middle child of 3 girls, the daughter to a very strong woman, and a man that I would rather not speak of. There is a fatherly figure in my life though, like say they in Spanish, "mas padre el que cria, que el que hace." That means a father is not who makes the baby, but rather who takes care and supports it. I would describe my life in three words: Determined, Hurtful, and Love. Determined because I strive to break barriers that statistics have put me in. Hurtful because I've had many people taken away form me, and also people walk away. Lastly love: why love? Love is what keeps me going. The love my family and friends provide me with is enough to make the hurtful go weak the determination grow stronger."
Keep it with you.
As teachers, WE GOTTA LOVE AND SUPPORT AND INSPIRE EACH OTHER. It's the only thing that'll keep us alive.