I do not have time to write this blog post. Which means I’m writing it on the D line, and it’s rush hour, so I’m writing on my cell phone with just my right thumb while I cling onto the rail with my left. One never does her best writing on the subway. One-thumbed writing is hasty, filled with run on sentences and typos that people privately message me about after my blog is posted.
I don’t have time but I’ve got words, so one-thumb writing will have to do.
I mentioned in my last post that I am putting on an assembly with my students about race relations in America. It is the absolute hardest thing I have EVER done as an educator. To get 68 not non-performers excited about performing in front of the whole school is one thing; getting them confronting their race, their privilege, their value systems, and their prejudices in 2016 has been entirely another. I cry a lot in general, but this unit has produced a special amount of tears; happy ones, but mostly sad ones, if I’m honest. Everyone is raw, everyone is uncomfortable, and everyone (ok, not EVERYONE) is also giving it their absolute all.
I’ve fallen in love with this senior class surprisingly fast this year, and I think it’s because of the nature of this communal struggle–this oneness we have with the realness of the world. We are exploring race in a very real microcosm.
And more than 1,000 times this school year, I’ve berated myself for being naive, for taking on too much, for making inevitable mistakes. And yet, and yet, I’m going home exhausted beyond reasonable degree but so filled to the brim with love for these kids that I can’t help but invest with every fiber of my being.
My thumb hurts, but I’ve still got writing quivering in the tips of my fingers.
This year has been unique in another way too. I’ve known teachers (some of the nearest and dearest teachers to my heart) who have lost students, and it’s my worst fear as an educator. And I realized this year in a very real way that a certain demographic of my students could, very realistically, become another unarmed statistic. I choked up when I realized this. I thought about telling them that I know they have a special reason to be scared.
And then I realized my motto–five years in the making– for myself as an educator:
I don’t want you to fear this world, I want you to change it.
So we’re pressing on with an assembly that makes me sad because it’s an actual action, a moment of doing-somethingness that HAS TO BE INSTILLED somewhere. We’re pressing on because I still, even with the monumental challenges we’ve already encountered this year, believe that we…they… can change the world for good.