Small Things With Great Love

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jul 07 2014

You are not a number

It’s the end of my second year of teaching. I know. I suck. at blogging. And that made all the difference between my first and second year of teaching. The constant reflection during my first year contributed to my tremendous growth and self-awareness of myself as an individual, as a purposeful human being, and as a teacher.

Part of why I did not reflect was because I was split between teaching and grad school. And though I felt it in my soul that I needed some serious reflection, I was just too exhausted. But it’s not too late!

A few weeks ago, my student sent me this message on instagram (my students made me an instagram because they said I wasn’t cool This student found out that she did not pass the dreaded Geometry End of Course exam which led her to write this to me.

When I read this, I just felt so much love for her. It’s so sad that education has made them believe that they can be diluted down to a number. I have seen her struggle inside my classroom this entire year. I use the word struggle not in the bad sense, but in the sense that it takes an incredible amount of courage and tenacity to want to even begin to fight. Yes, she struggled. Less with geometry, but more with her mindset and her belief in her ability. It’s our role as teachers to combat this way of defining our students worth. Acknowledge their joys, pains, accomplishments, and struggles; their humanity. That is when true transformation happens and I believe her self-awareness is that first step to change.

Hence, the first thing I wrote to her:

“You are not a number”

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first thoughts from a first year

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