Fall break is full of promise. It holds morning after morning of sleeping in, long-awaited visits with friends & family, and mental space that goes on for miles.
As fall break draws closer and I have some time to think about my classroom beyond pulling together lesson plans, I’m starting to pull back to a macro picture.
What is my classroom culture, and what can I do to shape it to become more productive & safe for my students? How am I preparing my students for the rest of their lives, and am I doing so effectively? What have my experiences led me to believe about the nature of our education system and how it needs to shift?
Beyond education — how is this experience changing me? What have I learned about my own stereotypes and my own interactions with students? What has made me uncomfortable, and why?
I’ve come to a startling conclusion: I can never & will never go back to the person I was back in June, when I drove across the Arkansas/Oklahoma border for the first time. My understanding of our nation & our nation’s children has shifted; my understanding of myself has shifted. My sense of purpose & my concept of how I want to spend my career has shifted. My kids have snuck their way into my heart, and it’s all under my skin.
This experience isn’t about being a TFA corps member, or even about being a John Marshall teacher. In a lot of ways, this experience — and how I explain it through this blog — is about how I’m growing up with my students.
We are growing up with our students. We are undergoing transformational change.