“This generation coming up – unselfish, altruistic, creative, patriotic – I’ve seen you in every corner of the country." - Barack Obama
Sunday night, I found myself hanging out in our gym - not with basketball players, but with some of the kids in my Humanities 7 class. Some of them had asked me if I could come in Sunday night so they could prepare for the Convention on Girls’ and Women’s Rights they were hosting on Monday, and of course! I knew, though, that until some of the folks in Maintenance and I laid the tarp the next morning, there was only so much they could do. Turned out, mostly, they just wanted to be together. The kids who came spent a lot of time on the stage practicing the dance numbers and gymnastics routines they planned to perform as a break in the day. They spun and tumbled and struck a pose, smiling throughout, laughing at the end.
Our words and activism can’t just reside behind lit screens and gray keyboards, but in the streets and the classrooms where our present and future learn. Until justice is truly served, not just for Ms. Zuniga, but for all social justice educators, fairly and equitably, we must lock arms. - José Vilson
“So how do your students look this year?” The question was asked not, as many people might expect, by a colleague or even a parent but by three of my former students who are now juniors as we found a chance to talk at the annual Local Family Picnic. “They look great,” I said. “Of course. You know! Given the emails they’ve been writing me about the books they’ve been reading.” One of them laughed and said, “Your favourite Humanities 7 class of 2014-2015?” I laughed in return, responding “Absolutely!” knowing she was secure in the knowledge they were all part of my favourite Humanities 7 class of… 2010-2011. (For the record, I only teach one section of Humanities 7 each year, so the “favourite Humanities 7 class of...” line is something of a running joke.)
As I prepare for the imminent arrival on campus of my brand new students, as the middle school team prepares to bring together and start building this year’s community, I find myself focused not just on what the kids might be thinking and feeling but also on the parents. My son attended boarding school for three years and is about to start his junior year at college, so I know firsthand what parents are going through. The level of trust we parents place in a school when dropping off our children is powerfully and deeply touching, and part of what motivates me to do my absolute best each and every day is working to meet that trust (not that I need any more motivation than looking out at my students looking back at me!).