Near the end of last school year the 11th and 12th grade advisors sat in a circle to talk about relationships. Our goal was to make sure that every student had a person on campus that was their person. Then the conversation shifted to bigger things and to littler things, some as big as what to do with students who couldn’t cut it and some as small as dress code. When I got a chance to speak I said this,
“I think with all this stuff the students are just looking for adults to talk to. They are looking to have important conversations with us and we are not giving them the space.”
I would like to tell you that this became something but the truth is that I was quickly and very rudely shut down with the phrase, “I think we are getting off topic here,” said by the person leading the discussion.
I start at a new school tomorrow. A school that spend the first four days, not on curriculum, but on building relationships and creating intentional community. I am really excited to be a part of this.
This is also a school where I don’t have any status or reputation yet. A school where I have few, if any, relationships. A school where I don’t know how aware my students are of the world. A school where I don’t know the place to bring up Mike Brown.
I wish I could say that I was going to find it, that I was going to make this important piece of the world known to them*, let them live with it, and be there together as it happens but I am probably not. I will keep discussing this with you, on twitter, and with my former students. I will keep trying to be a safe space. I will keep all of this and his family in my heart.
I want you to know that I am disappointed in myself but that I am not perfect Social-Justice-Safe-Space-Maker all the time. Sometimes I am a new teacher at a new school working to find her own place. Sometimes I work inside a system I am not yet sure of.
*or just let them know I know