April 2018

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Dance of Hope That We Call School

Dear Teaching Colleagues,

Last night my partner Ann and I watched Waiting for Superman, a documentary about students and neighborhoods who aren't being served by our public school system. The documentary  reawakened in me sadness and anger about children who aren't served and about my inability to teach in a public school classroom right now.

I feel angry and sad, but I also feel grateful to know each one of you, and to see the commitment and the passion you devote to teaching each student you see. I get to work with a lot of you, and that ability to work with you and your students and to witness the power of hope you bring to their lives inspires me.

When I first started teaching in public schools 20 years ago, I thought I would change the system. It needs to change. I thought a lot about the system, and when as a twenty-something I asked the writer Jonathan Kozol what I should do to help, he told me to teach. Though I did some consulting around educational reform in schools around the nation, I came to believe that the real way for me to make a difference was in the classroom, one child at a time. I was devoted to being in school (I still am), and I thought I might go into administration and support teachers doing excellent work with students.

Having to leave the classroom as the teacher and to give up ideas of helping students, their families and their teachers as an administrator was hard for me. Schools are joyful places of so much hope for me.

It's such a gift to continue working with you, helping you to serve the students you care so much about. I am asking myself lots of questions about how I can best serve now, and I'm not sure where this new journey will take me. For now, I will continue doing the best I can to help you do the best you can.

Thank you for the work you do and the work you allow me to do in this all-important endeavor.
With love and respect, Mary

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