Thank You For Your Service, Still

I recently wrote two pieces that I’d love for you all to read. The most prominent among them is an emotional piece from the Huffington Post about the recent mass shooting in Florida.

“I don’t think I’m special. In fact, I think I’m the norm. Like my colleagues and friends, I do what it takes to reach the children I serve. Educators like us make daily sacrifices to do our jobs, because we love the work and we care deeply about our students. Each and every one of us has asked ourselves the same question my distracted student asked me on Wednesday morning: What heroism might one day be demanded of us because we’ve chosen to be schoolteachers in America?”

The second is a musing on democracy in schools featuring Deborah Meier and Emily Gasoi.

“The question we should ask now, as we should have in 2016, 2001, 1968, 1865, and 1776, is: do our schools reflect our country’s ostensible vision to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Furthermore, to whom does democracy belong and how does one attain the ability to govern for the common good? And how are adults in buildings?—?parents, teachers, administrators, and other people within a school building?—?going to teach democracy if it’s not something they’ve experienced themselves?”

Across the country, we’re seeing bold and courageous activism from our students. From organized walkouts and rallies to groups like United We Dream and Urban Youth Collective, students have rolled up their sleeves in ways that adults have not. The least we can do as concerned citizens is to become informed and responsive to students hoping to make our world better. We can vote, but we must also do the things in between elections that help us stay informed of the world around us.

For example, in light of recent massacres, NRA-funded politicians have encouraged school districts to arm teachers. The same people who almost eliminated tax exemptions for school supplies would encourage the funds for guns and firearms training? That’s dubious and duplicitous. We’re openly advocating for more schools, culturally relevant pedagogy and curricula, and nurturing, democratic environments. We have to hold steadfast against policies that steer us away from being better for our students.

That’s my word.

Some of the best stuff from around the web:

  • Here are some resources provided by the NEA for how to talk to kids about school shootings. I would prefer to live in a country where we have to create such a resource. Alas.
  • How do we make sure our children feel “seen?” Edutopia explores. (h/t Pedro Noguera)
  • Audrey Watters, friend of the program, writes about the recent urge of tech apologists. Let’s not wait decades to listen to our most critical and thoughtful people.
  • EduColor member Annie Tan came up with a phrase last year: “organizing is humanizing.” This article by William Anderson explores how we can do better with love than hate in critical spaces.

P.S. – I just told the President of the United States: “Thank you for your lack of service, but we got it from here.