Our school has lost sight of its purpose. We have a staff meeting tomorrow to discuss all the impending changes, so I’m clinging to the hope that this meeting will bring some dark areas to light. Every time we’re told that things will improve “from this point forward,” my hopes surge again, only to be dashed and disappointed by the immediate return to normalcy (what a word to use!). Normal? Why is this normal? Why is this accepted? Why are students allowed to roam the halls, wreaking havoc at every turn? Why doesn’t the administration provide support to its teachers? Why do I drive home with a clenched jaw and grind my teeth in the middle of the night? I’m frustrated with the administration (if you can even consider 2 counselors an administration!) and the people running the school. I’m frustrated with my students. I’m frustrated with myself. I do not know how to make education exciting for students who are not interested in learning – it took us 2 months to get through A Raisin in the Sun (not a difficult read). The book has beautiful themes displayed by intricate, dynamic characters, and somehow I could not get that across to the vast majority of my classes. I do not know how to continue to love and respect students who show nothing in response. I am out of cheeks to turn. I do not know how to find the balance between treating students like adults and asserting my authority as a teacher. I’m not even sure I deserve the title. I was not prepared for this. I’m left clueless, floundering in front of blank faces that won’t let me inside and refuse to come outside.
[stolen, adapted, however you choose to view the following...]
Even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream.
I have a dream that one day my students will rise up and live out the true meaning of that creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”
I have a dream that they will pursue their equality through the profound imparting of knowledge that is only achieved through education.
I have a dream that my 92 children (which is supposed to be 172 children) will not judge themselves on the circumstances of their past, but on the potential of their future.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that in the streets of Detroit, the little girls and boys from competing neighborhoods will join hands as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plains, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
This is my hope.
This is the faith that I go back to that school daily with.
With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.
With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our school into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.
With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together…
If my students are to grab hold of their lives and make a difference, this dream must become true.