Slice of Life: Difficult Conversations

I had to leave ILA early. That’s another story. This story starts with something I missed:  Cornelius Minor and Sarah Ahmed’s session on using the world as our curriculum.  Fortunately, Heinemann interviewed the two before their session. You can listen here.

 

And then there was an impromptu session wth Cornelius. Read this post detailing what must have been a tremendous experience.

This is what I’m thinking.

Gun violence against people of color happens every day. And it affects the classroom. It’s a story of a cousin of a student in my class It’s about a nine-year-old in a  neighboring town. It’s talked about at home and on the playground. All of that drama is on my students’ minds. They come to school with it. They want to talk about it. And they do, with each other. But in the classroom? Only if I bring it up. And that can be uncomfortable. I sit there in my white, female self. Wondering, worrying. Am I doing this right? Is this ok? And then I answer myself. I am an educator. I have to be talking about it. This is the world we live in. If I don’t address it I am negligent.

The conversation needs to happen. And we must be able. Because we want classrooms that foster discovery. Where students read, write, and are heard. We want it to be a place to learn about people who are worthy. Worthy of attention and understanding. A place to read about and to talk about people, of different gender and race, so that students can connect because even if they are different, they are like them.  That’s one pathway to seeing possibility in this world.

Our classrooms need to be a safe place to discover and create kindness. What happens on the playground, in the home, on the streets, across the country, comes into the classroom and must be addressed. We as educators have to listen, discuss and empower ourselves and our students with knowledge and understanding. That’s our job.

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for Slice of Life Tuesdays. A place to write and share. Read more slices here.