The MEGnitude of Change

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Sep 22 2012

Friday Night Lights

I wanted to see some tackles, some throwdowns. I wanted to see my kids grab our opponents by the ankles and slam them to the ground, only to recover the fumbled football, run it down the field, and score a touchdown — time and again.

Two weeks ago, I watched our football team play one of OKC’s more privileged schools. Their players were big, their stands were filled, and their marching band was poppin’. The resources available to their student body were evident. And I was resentful — until I realized that a few short years ago, I was one of those kids. And while the differences in resources is certainly a contributing factor to student success, I’m starting to see that it’s not the most significant point.

Throughout elementary, middle, and high school, and even college, I was lucky to be supported by a safety net. I could focus my energies on school & my own development, because ultimately, my family had my back. It wasn’t necessary for me to work a full-time job or provide for my siblings or worry about paying for medication or think about the safety of my household. I could dedicate myself to academics. Unfortunately, I know that many of my students cannot.

I am not trying to make martyrs out of my students or belittle the difficulties facing students in higher-income communities. Being in high school is tough for everyone.

I’m not sure what to make of this observation — I’m not even sure what I feel about it. All I know is that something about John Marshall is starting to sink into me. I want to see our kids succeed, and I want to see them overcome the odds — stacked against them, stacked against us. Friday nights tend to highlight the differences between our school communities — for better & for worse. We are given a chance to prove ourselves on the field, but we are reminded of just how different our home communities are.

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