It’s been a year since I’ve written. Many things turned me away from writing on this blog. I didn’t want to have to censor my thoughts in order to share my opinions about teaching or about Teach For America.
I am working on another documentary, but this time I am going to let me students tell the story.
My second year teaching is just as stressful but less daunting. The task at hand is to educate my students in anything and everything possible in one school year. I’ve thrown out the district pacing guide and I’ve began to use resources other than those provided for me by my school. The new assistant principal commented on this fact saying, “I like that you are not afraid to leave the textbooks under the desks.” I will not be a slave to a curriculum already planned for me.
Since I do teach American Literature, the main texts my class reads are from American writers. My goal is to expose my students to American writers they may have been sheltered from.
We started off with Malcolm X, moved on to Native American Literature, and then to Puritan Literature. I have also begun to show one fi;m a month; tying it into the text we are reading. We watched Amistad after we read The Interesting Narrative of Oludah Equiano. The students really loved it; quoting Cinque’s famous line “Give us us free!” weeks after we finished the unit.
Now we are moving on to Patrick Henry’s famous “Give us liberty, or give us death” speech and following that up with Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom. The film this month is Catch A Fire.
I want my students to think past the page in their textbook. I want them to gain mental emancipation. I’ve found it difficult to maintain a positive attitude this year. With the constant disruption from unannounced school programming to chaos in my re-tester classroom – my sanity seems to be slipping away.
My thoughts cannot help but dwell on the near future when I will leave Jackson, Mississippi for a new adventure. This time of transition always makes me anxious and curious about “what is next?”
One day at a time, sweet Jesus. That’s all I’m asking from you.